AGOURA, CA — Whether you are an experienced hiker or just want to take the kids for an outdoor adventure, you will find a fun-filled day out is just miles away from home at the Paramount Ranch.  This former ‘movie ranch’, part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, has been the setting for hundreds of movie and television productions since the area was purchased by Paramount Pictures in 1927.  Now the ranch is open to the public for free, and is served by the free ParkLINK Shuttle, so getting out into the wilderness for a hike, a picnic or a day of play is even easier.

Although Paramount Ranch is fewer than 15 miles from Van Nuys, you would be forgiven for feeling as if you have stepped into the wilderness.  The Santa Monica Mountains are home to mountain lions, golden eagles, bob cats, coyotes and rattlesnakes among many other species, and it has a natural rugged beauty that movie producers have used to create a range of worldly locations.

Hiking is an excellent form of exercise, and the variety of trails at Paramount Ranch offer something for every age and fitness level.  Just grab the map, some comfortable shoes and plan your trail adventure through the old movie ranch.

Coyote Canyon Trail

0.5 mile round trip – easy.

A small chaparral-covered canyon that climbs a small knoll overlooking a valley.  It has a picnic spot with a view.

Medea Creek Trail

0.75 mile round trip – easy.

Begins at the southern end of the parking area.  This trail meanders through streamside oak woodlands.

Overlook Trail

0.5 mile one-way – moderate.

This trail offers a view of the mountains.

Hacienda Trail

This trail offers glimpses of sites where Paramount created an Hacienda set in the late 1920s, and where CBS built the homestead set for Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman in 1995.

Bwana Trail

Leads you through the “grasslands of Africa” as seen in 1952’s Bwana Devil.

Backdrop Trail

This trail leads through a section of the ranch that could be used as a backdrop for any kind of shot due to its lack of distinctive modern features such as telephone poles.

(For more information, please visit Paramount Ranch – Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service) (

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