Paramount Ranch is a former movie and TV studio location that hosted luminaries like John Wayne, Bob Hope, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, and pretty much anyone who ever played a cinematic cowboy. Plenty of women saddled up at the ranch, too, including Lucille Ball, Diane Keaton, Marlene Dietrich, and one of the doctors that inspired the title of this hike: Jane Seymour as Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Dr. Quinn's western set is still standing, and we'll amble through it on our way to 3 miles of riparian forest, oak trees, wildflowers, and wildlife- coyotes, rabbits, hawks, lizards, and abundant butterflies.
After looping around Paramount, we'll cross Mulholland to a familiar starting point for Malibu Creek State Park hikes- the Reagan Ranch. Following in Ronnie's footsteps, we'll traverse grasslands to the Cage Creek Trail, named after the film our second doctor- Planet of the Apes' Dr. Zaius- appeared in. We'll tack on a camp of doctors when we wrap around Century Lake and slip through the woods to the site of the movie and TV show MASH. A few vehicles and other ephemera mark the spot.
MCSP holds more movie and TV history; even before Twentieth Century Fox bought 2000 acres there to film movies like the original Planet of the Apes, Roots, The Thornbirds, and How Green Was My Valley, MCSP played host to stars like Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, and Johnnie Weissmuller. Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, and even the King, Elvis Presley, trod the paths the Blazer stars will strut.
MCSP features rolling grasslands, sturdy oaks and sycamores, a tranquil man-made lake, a rocky stream, volcanic rock cliffs looming over a canyon, and- believe it or not- redwood trees. It's no wonder that wealthy men from Los Angeles picked this location to build their get-away lodge (damming the stream and creating Century Lake to duck hunt and fish on).
Above are then and now photos of the Ape City from Planet of the Apes, along Century Lake. Crags Road leads us around the lake and back to the MASH site.
Most of the trails we'll be on are flat(ish), but there will be a spot or two along the way with some elevation gain- 988' all together. Total mileage will be 7.7.
The Gentlers can ramble around Paramount Ranch for a few miles, then poke along Reagan Ranch and back to bring their mileage to a satisfactory number.
From the 101, exit at Kanan Rd and drive south (toward the ocean). Just past Agoura Rd, turn left onto Cornell Way (Way, not Road) and stay to the right onto Cornell Rd (ah, there’s Road). Follow Cornell Rd for about 3 miles, then turn right into the Paramount Ranch entrance. At the bottom of the access road, turn left and park near the bridge.
From PCH, you can: Head north on Kanan Rd, then turn right onto Troutdale Dr. At Mulholland Rd, turn left and drive to Cornell/Lake Vista. Turn left at the stop sign, then left again into the park entrance (the first access road is exit only).
*this option will spare you the narrow, twisting turns of Mulholland directly off Kanan.
OR head north on Malibu Canyon Rd, then turn left at Mulholland (there’s a stop light- Malibu Creek State Park will be on your left). Follow Mulholland to Cornell/Lake Vista and turn right (there’s a stop sign there), then turn left into the Paramount Ranch entrance.
Parking is free.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:
The hike host is a volunteer and not responsible for the group. Safety should be a priority for everyone in the group. Please treat this meet-up as hiking with a group of friends. If you become fatigued and unable to continue the hike, it is expected you will advise the hike host of this and return to our starting point on your own. If you are able to proceed, it is expected that you will maintain line of sight with other members of the group at all times and help to promote the group’s safety and fitness goals.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Weekday Trailblazers Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions.
If you choose to sign up for this or any Weekday Trailblazers Meetup event, you are releasing the Weekday Trailblazers Meetup Group and its organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.
All participants must be 18 or older, or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.