Last weekend I went on a little adventure with Jon Rowen from Camtrol, who introduced me to a tucked away, commonly unknown park in Agoura Hills: Paramount Ranch. I’ve been to most of the parks/trails in Los Angeles, and was surprised I had not heard of Paramount Ranch. I guess we learn new things everyday, ey?
According to LAMountains.com, “In 1927 Paramount Pictures purchased 2,400 acres for use as a ‘movie ranch’. After World War II the studio sold the property where parcels were sold to private investors. In 1952 Bill Hertz bought 326 acres that still bear the Paramount name, where he turned the land into a western town. In 1980 the National Park Service purchased the land and revitalized the old movie ranch. To the south towering over the park is Sugarloaf Peak at 1,515′, it is the highest point in the park.”
Aside from being used as a filming location, the park was also home to Paramount Ranch race track, which was created in the mid-1950s. The track had tight turns and an overpass that formed a figure 8, both of which led to crashes/injuries, thus deeming the course unsafe. Shortly thereafter it was closed.
Nowadays, the park is full of greenery and a variety of wildlife including birds, lizards, rabbits, snakes and of all things: bees; lots of bees. We heard a very loud buzzing sound in the distance and it sounded like a swarm of bees, so we stayed away from that area. The Western town still exists, which is a cool sight, and there are a bunch of hiking trails one can choose from. Or, plan ahead and take horseback riding lessons through the park.
I’ve included a few photos from the excursion below, which were shot on a Nikon D90. Some were taken freehand, and some were shot with the D90 mounted to the Camtrol. I unfolded the Camtrol’s 4 legs and sat the camera down on the ground, on a log, and hung the front legs over a branch. This helped get a stable, focused shot without having to lug around my tripod. Hiking in Agoura Hilla, Calabasas or Woodland Hills in the summer, mid-day, provides a baked potato-ish feel and the last thing I wanted to do was carry my tripod.
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