Amenities— Historic film location
— Horseback riding
— Mountain biking
— Wildlife viewing
— Open 8am-8pm daily
Paramount Ranch is a historic film and television production location in the Santa Monica Mountains of Conejo Valley, near Agoura Hills, California. Renowned for its once picturesque old Western town set, it has served as the backdrop for countless iconic movies and TV shows since the 1920s. Beyond its cinematic charm, visitors can engage in outdoor activities, such as hiking and horseback riding, to enjoy its diverse natural offerings. The area is known for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational activities, with Conejo Valley providing a scenic backdrop for the ranch.
2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 View on map >
- Open 8am-8pm daily
- Free to the public
HISTORY OF PARAMOUNT RANCH
Paramount Ranch has a storied history dating back to 1927 when Paramount Pictures purchased the land for use as a “movie ranch.” Over the decades, the ranch became a versatile backdrop for countless Western films and television productions, hosting iconic actors and filmmakers, with its surrounding areas providing outdoor recreational activities to the public. Originally Paramount Pictures leased several thousand acres of land in the area, where numerous large-scale sets were built, including a huge replica of early San Francisco (for the 1937 film Wells Fargo), a Welsh mining village (for 1941’s How Green Was My Valley), a French village (for 1943’s The Song of Bernadette,), and several Western towns posing as Tombstone, Arizona and Dodge City, Kansas. The location also served as Missouri in Tom Sawyer (1938), 13th-century China in The Adventures of Marco Polo (1936) and colonial Massachusetts in Maid of Salem (1937).
Following WWII in 1946, when studio power began to wane, Paramount sold the ranch. During the 1950s, 326 acres of the land in its southeast corner was bought by William Hertz, who sought to return the area to its golden age by building an old Western Town using props and sets used by the studios. This attracted several television companies to shoot westerns there, such as The Cisco Kid, Gunsmoke and Bat Masterson.
Hertz sold the property in 1955 to several investors who renamed it “Paramount Sportsman’s Ranch.” Within a year they built the Paramount Raceway, a paved 2-mile racing course with 11 turns that many consider the most challenging raceway in the U.S. The track only lasted two seasons and closed within 18 months of opening after two fatal crashes occurred in succession during December of 1957. But it can be seen in The Devil’s Hairpin (1957) and Disney’s The Love Bug (1968). Very little of the raceway is discernible today, save for a bridge built for it, but traces of the tack can be found winding through the grass and oak woodlands of the park.
Following the raceway’s closure, from 1957 to 1980, the ranch would see more ownership changes, all the while filmmaking continued and its cinematic legacy thrived. In 1980, the National Park Service acquired Paramount Ranch as part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, preserving its rich heritage for visitors to explore and enjoy right up to today, expanding its hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trials, and adding facilities to make it more accessible. Throughout that time the ranch hosted the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Southern California (from 1966 to 1989) and the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Content (still held annually each May since 1961), along with several weddings, parties and other events. Along with many other productions that took place during this time, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman used the Western Town as its main location from 1993 to 1998 and the HBO series Westworld shot parts of seasons 1 and 2 there.
Sadly the devastating Woosley Fire in 2018 destroyed most of the Western Town structures and , with only its train depot (built for Dr. Quinn) and white church (built for Westworld) left standing. While the National Park Services is working with the Santa Monica Mountains Fund to restore the area as part of The Paramount Project, there are no plans to rebuild Western Town as it was.
Today, the Paramount Ranch remains an amazing park and historic location that welcomes visitors from all over to enjoy its lasting natural beauty and to experience its enduring testament to the golden age of Hollywood.
MOVIES AND TV SHOWS FILMED AT PARAMOUNT RANCH
Paramount Ranch is one the most popular filming locations in Conejo Valley. When Paramount Pictures leased the ranch in 1927, they began an era of film production that continues today. You can experience the area where Bob Hope starred in Caught in the Draft (1941), Sandra Bullock had a leading role in The Lake House (2006) and Bradley Cooper appeared in American Sniper (2014). In the 1950s, Western Town was created for television shows, such as The Cisco Kid. More recent television productions at Paramount include The Mentalist, Weeds, Sons of Anarchy, Hulu’s Quickdraw and The Bachelor.
Over 500 productions have filmed at the ranch over the years. View a complete list of movies and TV shows made at Paramount Ranch.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AT PARAMOUNT RANCH
Paramount Ranch offers several miles of easy to moderate scenic hikes through chaparral, riparian, and valley oak savannah plant communities. Equestrians and mountain bikers may access these multi-use trails. Wildlife sightings might include red-tailed hawks, acorn woodpeckers, blue heron and deer.
Be on the lookout for our two native oak species — coast live oak and valley oak — and follow the trails into the rare valley oak savannah, which may become extinct within decades due to the effects of climate change.