Paramount Studios purchased this land in the 1920’s and shot numerous movies and television shows here for the next 30 or so years. The land changed hands in the 50’s and then once again when it was bought by the park system. Beyond the touristy “Western Town” there is some real hiking to be done here.
To the right is the town. These buildings were used by Paramount not as movie sets but rather as storage buildings. Only after the studio sold the property in the 50’s was it turned into this film friendly mock-up.
More photos from Western Town. Photo 3 shows the leftover train station set from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Some famous old films were shot at this ranch, from Beau Geste with Gary Cooper to the 1938 version of Tom Sawyer, I Married a Witch and Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, not to mention more recent TV shows like Charlie’s Angels and CHiPs.
A little cabin, the only building one can actually go inside.
Now out of the town and on to my first trail – Coyote Trail. I bet if this little rabbit could read he might take up residence elsewhere.
There were almost no trail signs in the area. Coyote Trail is supposed to end at an overlook, but it’s not marked correctly. There are a couple of overlooks marked on the map but the sign for them reads something like “Trail Ends in .4 miles, Private Property”. Photo 2 – I headed toward the first overlook but found no real indicator that the trail had ended. It just kept getting more overgrown the further I went and I turned around when the Poison Oak got too thick. Photo 3 was taken from what I believe to be the overlook. Too bad June gloom spoiled the view.
Off of Coyote Trail is a picnic area with a single table and some decent views.
Here is a clearer view of Sugarloaf Mountain. Can’t say it looks much like the mountain in the Paramount logo from this angle.
The owner who built the western town on the 50’s also, strange as it may seem today, built an auto race track. The paved parking area is a part of the old track. If you follow it in the opposite direction from Western Town the new pavement will give way to old weathered pavement. Barriers have been erected to make sure no one can get in and take their car for a spin around the old track. Photo 3 shows the top of the track’s turn, with Ladyface Mountain in the background. Some movies that used this track as a location – Munster Go Home and two Herbie the Love Bug movies.
On my way back to my car, one more shot of Sugarloaf Mountain.