Santa Clarita Guide, What To Do in Santa Clarita
What To Do > Hollywood's Backlot

Hollywood's Backlot - SCV

30-mile zone
30-mile zone

Melody Ranch Museum
Melody Ranch Museum

Walk of Western Stars
Walk of Western Stars
Melissa Gilbert & Bruce Boxleitner

Halfway House Cafe
Halfway House Cafe is the scene for numerous shows & commercials

Vasquez Rocks
Vasquez Rocks is a famous backdrop for film, TV, and commercials

Valencia Town Center
Valencia Town Center, filming location for "NCIS" and others.

30-mile Zone
Santa Clarita falls within the coveted "30-mile zone" (also known as the "studio zone" for filming in Los Angeles. By staying within this production zone, television shows and and film productions do not need to pay travel time and mileage to members of the entertainment unions. Therefore, Santa Clarita Valley is a hot bed of filming activity.

Paul Walker/Roger Rodas Crash Site
Two well-loved and respected men died on November 30, 2013 around 3:30 pm in Valencia (the City of Santa Clarita). High speed was a factor in the crash that caused their death on the Rye Canyon Loop. For a Google map of the crash site and the official collision reports, please click on the link above.

Valencia Hit with a Nuclear Bomb
on FOX's "24"

The world watched as Valencia was obliterated on TV, but if you missed it, we've got the trailer right here. Follow the above link for more info on "24."

What's Filming in Santa Clarita?
Gosh, a better question might be, "What's not filming in Santa Clarita?" Over $16 million was funneled into Santa Clarita's economy through television and and film productions. Recent locally-based productions include NCIS, Justified, Switched at Birth, Chasing Life, The Bridge, Franklin & Bash, Jennifer Falls, Utopia, and Wipeout. Other popular shows such as Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, Ray Donovan, Scandal, and Sons of Anarchy along with feature films such as American Sniper, Furious 7, Scouts vs. Zombies, Ted 2 and Yoga Hosers filmed scenes in Santa Clarita in 2014.

Check out the City of Santa Clarita's Film Office website for more info on what's rolling in Santa Clarita.

Caution: Filming in Progress
"Distracted and rushed, I pulled into my usual parking spot at work. Admittedly, I was annoyed to see a man in a bathrobe walking toward me--in Valencia? As he approached, I noticed his face was badly scraped. 'You don't look so good,' I said.

"I'm not having a very good day," he replied.

Running into the building to clock in, I realized there were an unusually greater number of people in the parking lot, and I was taken aback by the new sign, "HOSPITAL," that hung over the door. It was only when I reached my co-workers and they excitedly explained Mark Harmon was on-site and bandaged did I realize it was him with whom I had just exchanged greetings!" Melodie Burns, Santa Clarita resident.

These types of "star sightings" are pretty common in the Santa Clarita Valley. If you're not careful, you may also be caught walking into a scene of a current hit television show!

Editor's Note: This interaction took place on private property, behind a gated area not open to the public. This was the filming for the season finale of NCIS in 2006. Admittedly, Mark Harmon was bandaged beyond recognition for his role in this episode.

Take a Virtual Tour of SCV Filming Sites

Hollywood's Backlot Movie Trailers
First, preview the trailer on your computer, then see if you can identify Santa Clarita in the shot.

Hidden Movie Ranches in SCV
Did you know that there are secluded ranches tucked into the canyons of Santa Clarita? Santa Clarita has appeared in countless films dressed to recreate Afghanistan, Mexico, Southeast Asia, or even the Midwest. You can also seemingly turn back the clock by decades on some of these ranches in western and 50's towns. Other than Melody Ranch, you cannot presently get on these ranches without an invitation.

Eve Bushman spent some time with Rene Veluzat at his ranch, Blue Cloud, located in Saugus. Click on the link above to read about the goings-on at his ranch.

Filming on Campus
In addition to college-produced films, the CalArts campus is often used for television and film productions. Credits include NCIS, Chalk, and Built for Two.

Ride the Historic Movie Trains!
Fillmore & Western Railway
Hundreds of feature films, television programs and commercials have been filmed on the trains at the Fillmore & Western Railway. Movie credits include "Rails & Ties," "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?" Seabiscuit," and "The Holiday." Hot television series riding the F&WR's rails include "Dr. Quinn," "Melrose Place," "X-Files," "ER," "Monk," "24," "CSI," NCIS," "Cold Case," "Medium" and "Days of Our Lives." Read a more complete list of their credits here.

Tour a Movie Studio

Melody Ranch Studio
24715 Oak Creek Ave., Newhall
HBO's "Deadwood"
This western set is the current home to the townspeople of 'Deadwood,' a hit series running on HBO. If you've been to the Cowboy Poetry Festival, you've seen the town crowded with people. Now is your opportunity to walk the streets almost solo. A guided studio tour of the western town includes a stroll down Main Street and the interiors of the buildings. Your guide will share with you moments from the exciting days of filming, past and present. The tour would not be complete without a stop at The Melody Ranch Museum, which houses one-of-a-kind movie memorabilia from the last fifty years including Gene Autry's collection. Best for kids 12 and over. By appointment only; subject to filming.

Melody Ranch History

Walk 'on' the Western Stars

Western Walk of Stars
Along San Fernando Road, Newhall Avenue, and Market Street in downtown Newhall. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Dennis Weaver, Jack Palance, Bruce Boxleitner, and Melissa Gilbert are just a few of the western celebrities honored in downtown Newhall. Western film, stage, television and radio personalities who performed in the Santa Clarita Valley are honored here in The Downtown Newhall Walk of Western Stars, which began in 1981. Come with your camera and find your favorite stars immortalized with bronze plaques and terrazzo tile set into the sidewalks.

Walk of Western Stars Inductee List

Stuntmen Walk of Fame
Agua Dulce
While not as extensive as the Walk of the Western Stars or Hollywood Walk of Fame (we only found 3 stars in 2006), it's a fun little thing to see while in Aqua Dulce. You'll find these stars located on 'mainstreet', right in front of the Sweetwater Cafe.

Dine 'with' Past Celebrities

Saugus Cafe
25861 Railroad Avenue, Saugus
The history of this unimposing little cafe goes way back to 1887, although it has resided in the current building since 1952. With a renovation in 1994, patrons today will still enjoy generous meals at sensible prices. Where else may one dine within the same walls as presidents and legends? Former customers of the restaurant include Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Tom Mix, Charlie Chaplin, Doug Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford. The cast of CSI, as well as Drew Barrymore and Whoopi Goldberg, have filmed here.

Explore Historical 'Movie Sets'

Heritage Junction
The Saugus Train Station can be seen here in Charlie Chaplain's "The Pilgrim." The train station has been featured in "The Grifters," and "Suddenly." The Ramona Chapel has been used by John Wayne as a movie set, and Gary Cooper, Wyatt Earp, Will Rogers, Joan Crawford and many other stars have been inside these four walls.

The Callahan Schoolhouse was built in 1927 as a tourist attraction and movie set. Likewise, the Pardee House has been used by Tom Mix in one of his "Mixvilles" and by John Ford and Harry Carey in their films in 1917.

While on property, tour the Adobe Schoolhouse. There's also a gift shop and a beautiful historic rose garden. Free. Open weekends, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. (Enter at William S. Hart Park and make an immediate left.)

Placerita Nature Center
The Walker Cabin has been used in countless movies in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. You can walk through it, and even better, pose for a photo op.

Tesoro Adobe Historic Park
661) 702-8953
Harry Carey and John Ford made some of their western movies on the ranch, which was home for Harry Carey and his family. The western movie elite, including John Wayne, Gary Cooper and William S. Hart, often visited here. It is now a county-run park. Tours of the grounds and buildings are available during open park hours. (Call for current hours.)

Tour the Home of a Silent Film Star

William S. Hart Park & Museum
24151 San Fernando Road, Newhall
Former silent film cowboy star and director, William S. Hart, resided in this fully furnished Spanish colonial revival-style mansion, now open to the public. Fans of western art will find many of their favorites here, including works done by Charles Russell, Joe De Young, Charles Christadoro, and Frederic Remington. Movie props from the 1920s and authentic native American artifacts are found throughout the museum. Make a day of your visit: take the kids to the barnyard zoo, ogle the bison grazing on the property, and enjoy a picnic under a shade tree. Free.

Shop on a 'Movie Set'

Saugus Speedway
22500 Soledad Cyn Road, Saugus
Movie buffs will recognize the Speedway from their favorite films, television programs, and commercials. The open-air market held here has been serving the public rain or shine for over thirty years. Whether its fresh produce or your own idea of 'treasure' you seek, you'll probably find it here. Sunday's Marketplace draws the largest crowd, and you can stop in Tuesdays and Wednesdays for a flea market.

Take a Self-guided Movie Tour
You've probably seen Santa Clarita without knowing it: on the big screen and on TV. Movies, television, commercials, music videos--they're all shot right here. Spend a couple of days touring the valley, identifying locations where your favorite programs have filmed. Here are a couple of tour ideas:

Tour One
Start your day with breakfast at the Half Way House (Profiler, Space Cowboy, Pepsi), then go hiking at Vasquez Rocks (Friends, Austin Powers, Flintstones, Taco Bell, Wendy's) . Pack a picnic lunch because you'll want to spend time here. Round up your day with dinner at Salt Creek Grille. (JAG, CSI, Navy NCIS).

Tour Two
Ride the roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain (National Lampoon's Vacation, Sony, Encino Man, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) before having dinner at Sisley (Navy NCIS).

Tour Three
Start out your day with an early round of golf at Vista Valencia Golf Course (NASCAR, Starsky & Hutch, Wedding Planner), stop for lunch at the Way Station (CSI), then ride some go carts at Mountasia (CSI, Malcom in the Middle, JAG, DisMissed).

Tour Four - the Outdoor Tour
Head on up to Castaic Lake Recreation Area. Grasshopper Grove has been used in JAG, NCIS, CSI, 24 and Reno 911. (Locate Grasshopper Grove by visiting Castaic Lake's website and clicking on "Group Picnic." Then scroll down to the bottom for the map of the picnic areas. The directional for "To West Ramp" points precisely to Grasshopper Grove.)

Fear Factor has shot at the west launch ramp and Reno 911 at the lower west ramp. Other shows and films have also used Castaic Lake.

From Castaic Lake, head to Beale's Cut. Go south on I-5 and exit 14-N. From 14, exit San Fernando Rd, turn left, then left on Sierra Hwy. Follow the road until you see dilapidated historical markers on the left side of the highway. That is the entrance to Beale's Cut. Be careful--getting to the trail is a bit challenging. Head off to the left, cross the broken bridge, and on to the trail. Once you round the first ridge, you'll recognize Beale's Cut--about a quarter mile hike.

Tour Five
So you've run out of vacation time and you want to integrate movie life into your everyday life? No problem. Start out your day with a cup of coffee from Java 'n Jazz (CSI, Navy NCIS), before filling up for gas at Mobil on San Fernando Road (CSI). Then head over to the Saugus Speedway for the open-air market (Miller Ice, Love Bug, Fear Factor, Dukes of Hazzard). Do a little shopping at Valencia Town Center (The Huntress, Clueless, Medium) before picking the kids up from Valencia High School.

More Tour Ideas
Create an itinerary that fits your day by visiting the Santa Clarita film office website.

Further Reading
Visit the online archives and repository of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society, The Friends of Mentryville and Old Town Newhall USA.

Updated April 13, 2011

Endorsed by
County of Los Angeles SCV Chamber of Commerce California Travel and Tourism Commission
In association with
City of Santa Clarita SCV Tourism Bureau
© 2005-2015 Santa Clarita Guide LLC. All Rights Reserved.
"Santa Clarita Guide" and "SCV Guide" are trademarks of Santa Clarita Guide LLC.