Calico Ghost Town
Paramount Movie Ranch
Oak of the Golden Dream
Heritage Junction: A great place to step back in time!
Beale's Cut: An old stagecoach trail
Ft. Tejon State Historical Park
Right here in the SCV you can head out on horseback, visit the spot where gold was first discovered in California, or explore a ghost town once active with the search for black gold (oil).
Or venture out of the valley to attend a rodeo, walk through an 1850s army post, or Dr. Quinn's "Colorado Springs."
Choose from any of these destinations--and more--for a fun day trip. Or, spend the night in a teepee or covered wagon for a real adventure!
Calendar of Events
for docent-led programs and other events happening today in the Santa Clarita Valley!
IN THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY
See Where Gold was First Discovered!
Yes, right here in the Santa Clarita Valley...not at Sutter's Mill. Even John Wayne made sure everyone knew it. It happened in 1842 in Placerita Canyon. You can still visit The Oak of the Golden Dream, which marks the spot.
Spend the Afternoon at an 1800s Ranch
805-521-1501 Rancho Camulos was built the in 1853 by Ygnacio del Valle. It is the far western end of the original Rancho San Francisco--a ranch that incorporated the entire Santa Clarita Valley from Newhall Pass to the lower end of Placerita Canyon and all the way west to Camulos.. Ygnacio's father, Antonio del ValIe, had been granted the 48,000+ acre Rancho San Francisco from Mexico, and after his death the ranch was divided among his heirs. Rancho Camulos is one of the oldest historic landmarks in the Santa Clarita Valley. It is located right off Hwy 126, technically located in Ventura County, but at the very heart of Santa Clarita's history.
An 1887 Train Station
Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt both traveled through the Saugus Train Station. Tolefree's Saugus Eating House, renamed "The Saugus Cafe" in 1898, served up grub for hungry travelers. (It was later relocated to its current location.) In the early 1900s, the station began to appear in major motion pictures. Open Saturdays & Sundays, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Located at Heritage Junction; enter at William S. Hart Park, then make an immediate left. For more see
Hollywood's Backlot - SCV.
A 19th Century Schoolhouse
Although this schoolhouse was actually built in 1927 as a tourist attraction and movie set, it is representative of the schoolhouses built in the 19th century. Why so small? So it could easily fit in the back of a wagon for portability. Located at Heritage Junction; enter at William S. Hart Park, then make an immediate left.
The Second Oldest School in LA County
Used as the Sulpher Springs School in 1872, classes were held at the kitchen table until 1879. The original adobe was 45x60 feet, but fell into ruin as the years passed. The SCV Historical Society salvaged the original adobe bricks to create the structure that stands today. Located at Heritage Junction; enter at William S. Hart Park, then make an immediate left.
Hike through an Old Stagecoach Route
This rich part of Santa Clarita's history could be easily overlooked, as it is hidden in the hillside off of Sierra Hwy. Completed in 1864 by E.F. Beale, Surveyor-General of California and Nevada, the cut through the mountains made a treacherous trip far less dangerous at this stretch for stages, cowpokes, herds, freight trains and settlers. Completed by hand with Chinese labor, it became known as "Beale's Cut" and has been used in numerous Western films. See
Hollywood's Backlot - SCV.
Get a Glimpse of Modern Day Cattle
We found these cattle on Sierra Hwy at Hume Canyon Road, near the Halfway House Cafe. Just a few years back, cattle outnumbered people in the Santa Clarita Valley. You can still find them if you know where to look--on the outskirts of town.
Tour a Victorian Home
Kingsburry House is a fully-restored and furnished home built in 1878. It is open for tours on the first Sunday of every month, from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Located at Heritage Junction; enter at William S. Hart Park, then make an immediate left.
Walk through a Western Ranch House
The Newhall Ranch House, a beautiful 2-story home, belonged to the family of Henry M. Newhall. The original portion was made with hand-hammered, square nails and rough-hewn redwood. Wooden gutters can be found on the gabled portion of the structure. The home is said to be haunted by several spirits. Located at Heritage Junction; enter at William S. Hart Park, then make an immediate left.
Explore the Home of a Western Film Star
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 also found throughout the museum. You'll even see the imprint of Bill Hart's famous revolvers under the flagpole as you exit the mansion. The gravesite for Bill's pinto pony, Fritz, is located near the deer pen. Make a day of your visit--take the kids to the barnyard zoo, watch the bison grazing on the property, and enjoy a picnic under a shade tree. Free.
Walk of the Western Stars
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 along San Fernando Road, Newhall Avenue, and Market Street.
Stuntmen Walk of Fame
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'.
Tour a Western Movie Set
This western set is the current home to the townspeople of "Deadwood," an HBO series. 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.
Tour a Ghost Town
While frankly, there's not a lot of buildings to tour here, it's worth scheduling a hike in the park and dropping in on one of the afternoons the buildings are open for tours. Once you head up the hill from the buildings, you'll come upon remnants of the 1880s oil boom town, including the remnants of Pico Number 4. Pico Number 4 was the longest running oil well in the world when it ceased operation in 1990, and the first commercially successful oil well in the western United States. A neat place to stop for ghost town aficionados.
Walk through Newhall's Old Jail
Built in 1906, which technically makes it six years too young to be on the "Old West" page, this jail is just too cool to leave out. Now the Antique Flower Garden, it still has its original bars, cathedral windows, thick steal door, keys, and 12-inch thick walls. The staff loves to show you around and share where William S. Hart and the constable sat around the pot-bellied stove (now gone). Turn on 11th from San Fernando Road, then left on Spruce St. The kids will love seeing the messages carved into the walls by former inmates. (And the flowers sold here are worth the drive in itself.)
Explore an Authentic Western Ranch
Built in the 1920s and 30s, much of the ranch at Tesoro del Valle survived the St. Francis Dam disaster. An early western film actor, Harry Carey entertained many celebrities at the ranch, including John Wayne, William S. Hart, Gary Cooper and John Ford. Saturday tours include the bunk house, stable, and ranch house. Special events, including outdoor movies, are offered periodically at the ranch. See
for more info on the ranch.
Go Horseback Riding
Rainbow Ridge, Palmdale
Ride the trails for an hour or two or help out at the ranch grooming and caring for the animals all day at Rainbow Ridge. Located at Angeles Forest and Sierra Highways, the kids will love this wild west adventure.
OUTSIDE OF THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY
Watch a Gunfight, Ride the Train, and Eat BBQ, Fillmore
The annual RailFest at Fillmore & Western Railway transports you back into the days of the wild, wild west with the addition of rides and entertainment for the kids, as well as arts & crafts vendors for adults. Held every March; don't miss it!
Join a Ranch Round Up Barbeque
A fun and memorable event, it begins with a tractor drawn hay wagon ride to a scenic corner of El Capitan's working horse ranch. You'll try your hand at cowboy roping, ride in a horse drawn carriage, and enjoy a camp fire with live musical entertainment. Special rates for families.
Walk through a 19th Century Town, Bakersfield
Walk through the re-creation of a 19th century town, stepping into the local pharmacy, schoolhouse, hospital, and jail. This amazing collection of buildings will thrill kids and adults alike. Be sure to stop at the Black Gold exhibit, where you'll travel under the sea in a simulated diving bell and see first hand how oil is formed and transformed into today's products.
Pan for Gold, locations vary
With a gold pan, some research and a little luck...you're gone to have some fun! The Santa Clarita area has an important history in the Gold Rush which you can learn about, but if you are itching to get out there and try your luck, you'll need to to do some research. Also check out these
Walk through late 1800s "Colorado Springs," Agoura Hills
Located in the Malibu Hills, this western set was well-known for its starring role in "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman." Fans of the show will recognize the door to Dr. Mike's office, the town's picnic grounds, and the depot (sans train).
Walk Through an 1850s Army Post, Grapevine
Once a month, Fort Tejon comes alive as docents re-enact the life of this fort as it was in the 1850s. You'll observe the common soldier and civilian men, women and children as they go about their lives. Watch a military drill, artillery drill, weapons demonstrations, open hearth cooking, washing laundry, and candle making. Jump in and help with chores or take tea with the Captain's wife. (Demonstrations vary) Sample some of the soldier's rations, but bring a picnic lunch to enjoy under the magnificent oak trees, because there are no food concessions at the park.
Tour a Mission, locations vary
Our closest mission is in San Fernando, San Fernando Rey de Espana, just 30 minutes south of us. Two others may be discovered during a day trip in Santa Barbara County--Santa Barbara and Santa Ines Missions.
Sleep in a TeePee, Rialto
The classic Wigwam Motel is recognized as Southern California's most famous motel, which lies along old Route 66.The motel's unreal architecture features a village-style arrangement of nineteen, 30-foot-tall teepees, made of concrete and wood. All of the individual teepee sleeping rooms are equipped with the traveler's essentials, and the grounds include an outdoor barbecue grill and kidney-shaped swimming pool. The newly-renovated classic motel continues to live on, approaching its 60th anniversary.
Sleep in a Covered Wagon, Santa Barbara
This real west experience is not soon to be forgotten. Whether you and the kids want to hit the trails of the back country on horseback for an afternoon or spend the night at Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables, you're certain to bring home great memories.