One of the many things I love about California is its rich history with the film industry. The movies were born here, and there is a wide array of places to visit that offer glimpses into the magic of movie making, as well as thousands of locations to visit. Some are boasted on large billboards, while others are tucked away. One of these hidden gems is Paramount Ranch.
In 1927 Paramount Pictures purchased a massive plot of land in Agoura Hills. With its sloping hilltops and looming Santa Monica Mountains the area offered solitude from the bustling city outside and thus a perfect place to film. Many sets came and went, and in 1953 Paramount sold the land to William Hertz, who built a permanent western set on the land, but sold the property in 1955. After changing hands multiple times, the National Parks Service purchased much of the original 2,700 acres that Paramount had owned, including the western film set. The set was maintained, as it continued to be used for filming, most notably as the stand in for Colorado Springs in the 1990s series, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.
I had a total geek-out moment when I spied Dr. Quinn’s clinic. I remember watching Dr. Quinn with my mother, and loving it.
If you visit, you can see that the buildings have seen better days, but it still feels rich with history, and is still recognizable as the growing town in Dr. Quinn. I was able to spot out her clinic, Bray’s store, Jake’s barber shop, the bank, and even the area where Grace had her outdoor restaurant.
The ranch was also used in episodes of The A-Team, Dukes of Hazard and CHiPs throughout the 1970s and 80s, as well as an episode of the sci-fi western, and cult classic, Firefly. The surrounding area around the western town offers miles of hiking trails, and is a popular spot for horseback riding.
Paramount Ranch is located at 2903 Cornell Road in Agoura Hills, about 30 miles west of Hollywood. Typing in Paramount Ranch into Google Maps will give you perfect directions! Visit the NPS’s website for details on hours and events, including tours.
You can view later visits to Paramount Ranch here and here.
UPDATE: On Friday, November 9th, 2018, Paramount Ranch fell victim to the Woolsey Fire that tore through the Malibu, Thousand Oaks and Agora Hills areas. Paramount Ranch was reduced to cinders with only the church built for HBO’s Westworld remaining.
Blouse: Retro Rejuvenation, Coburg, Oregon
John Wolf Textiles Western Town Skirt: VintageCritter
Western Charm Bracelet: Made up of charms I have collected from various shops and shows
Tooled Leather Purse: Buffalo Exchange…I think…