Places everyone. Quiet on set! Cue the dog. And… rolling! Our most recent adventure took us to Paramount Ranch – 2,700 acres of movie making history in Agoura Hills, California. The first thing encountered after crossing a bridge into the park was Western Town, a couple of dirt roads with generic old west buildings that can be customized to a director’s liking.

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Sheriff and her Deputy

The trail names are a nod to some of the movies and TV shows that have been filmed at the ranch, i.e. Ebb Tide, Marco Polo, Bwana, Medicine Woman, Hacienda. Racetrack Road and Racetrack Turn 7 can also be found on the trail map. Between 1955-1957, Paramount Ranch Racetrack hosted two seasons of road racing sponsored by the California Sports Car Club and United States Auto Club.

 The two days we explored were very different in terms of weather. Day one: skies were blue and the air crisp (okay, freezing with a starting temperature of 25 degrees so that 51 felt warm when we were done). Day two: provided cloudy skies following a morning drizzle and temperatures in the low 60s. Happy hiker Kdog was quite content both days.
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Frosty leaf from a Valley Oak (Quercus lobata), one of two native oaks found in the area. The other, Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifiolia), also provides food for birds and other wildlife.
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Kempsey investigating a frozen puddle in the parking lot on day one.

There are plenty of short trail options that can be linked together to create a longer hike; and there are trails that branch off ending at private property adding some out-n-back mileage. There is enough land available to run a 6.5 mile ‘loop’ according to Paramount Ranch Trail Runs whose annual event includes 10K, half marathon, and 30K options.

Bonus on day two was hiking with a friend who enjoys birding. We saw the following: California Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica), White-breasted Nuthatch including a juvenile (Sitta carolinensis), Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), California Towhee (Melozone crissalis), and American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos). However, it’s difficult to photograph birds when tethered to an energetic aussie.

Most of the trails are designated as multi-use (equestrians and mountain bikes allowed), but there are a few hiker-only trails too. This venue is good for a family outing. Be sure to check out the web site for more details when planning your visit.

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Good dog, yielding to the horses