Paramount Ranch: From Western Films to Wedding Receptions

Once a popular filming location, Paramount Ranch became a favorite wedding reception venue before it burned down in 2018.

Last updated: April 24, 2024

Paramount Ranch near LA | Roads and Destinations
Paramount Ranch: from popular filming location to favorite wedding venue

A Tour through Paramount Ranch

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you visit Los Angeles? A tour to film and television locations! What if I say that you can take one of these tours and have a behind-the-scenes look at a movie making history for free? Does it sound interesting? If so, let’s take a virtual tour of Paramount Ranch, one of the most famous cowboy towns featured in many Western films during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

New Chapter in Paramount Ranch History

I don’t invite you on a self-guided tour of Paramount Ranch on a cool morning or evening before we can veer behind the historic filming location and explore mountainous trails for a reason. A disaster struck the western town a few years ago.

In November of 2018, the massive Woolsey Fire burned nearly 100,000 acres of land in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The wildfire didn’t spare the Western filming location (one of LA’s special wedding venues at that point).

During our latest trip to this hidden corner in the Malibu area, we found only a chapel and an old train station. The rest of the filming location was gone. The National Park Service and local communities proposed to restore the historic property and rebuild four other structures.

After years of planning and negotiating, the renovating project started in spring of 2023. It’s predicted that Paramount Ranch will be fully restored by fall 2024.

Visiting Paramount Ranch


2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Things to Know before Visiting Paramount Ranch

  • Open: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Admission: Free
  • Parking: Free parking lot is available near the entrance to Paramount Ranch

Movies Filmed at Paramount Ranch

More than 100 movies and TV shows have been filmed at Paramount Ranch over the nearly 100 years. Some of the most popular of them are:

  • The Cisco Kid
  • Gunsmoke
  • Have Gun Will Travel
  • American Sniper
  • Scream
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Love Comes Softly
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • CHIPs
  • Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Paramount Ranch, California | Roads and Destinations
Paramount Ranch before the fire

History and Western Films at Paramount Ranch before the Fire

Paramount Ranch, a working film set before the fire, came into existence in 1927 when Paramount Pictures purchased a 2,700-acre old ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura Hills. The property was to be used as a filming location.

The area quickly gained its popularity as one of the favorite Hollywood shooting locations. Old Western movies were its specialty. The multifaceted landscape of the place allowed the moviemakers to imitate different locations, such as the Middle West, ancient China, San Francisco, and many others. In the mid-1940s when the era of the Western films came to an end, the ranch lost its popularity.

In 1953, Paramount Ranch was bought by William Hertz who in pursuit of becoming a cowboy left New Jersey and moved to California. Together with his son Robert, the new owner built a Western town similar to the places portrayed in the movies during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

After the construction was complete, the ranch regained its old popularity. New movies, such as The Cisco Kid and television series Zane Grey Theater were filmed here.

During the next few decades property changed its owners several times, until in 1980 the National Park Service purchased the ranch and breathed a new life into the old Western town.

Paramount Ranch near Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Old Western town

Wedding Ceremonies

Under the new ownership, Paramount Ranch enticed not only filmmakers but also young couples that chose it as a venue for their dream wedding receptions. Whether it was a small intimate wedding, a DIY green ceremony, or an extravagant reception in a historic theme, the ranch was able to accommodate all of them.

Moreover, it lets the bride and groom become small filmmakers and pick their own wedding costumes, accessories, and food for their own wedding in the Western film’s style.

Paramount Ranch | Roads and Destinations
From an old filming location to a wedding venue

Other Things to Do at Paramount Ranch

Hiking and Mountain Biking

Thanks to its diverse terrain, the historic property is the center of attention of hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers looking for less crowded trails in and near Los Angeles. Wildlife enthusiasts find plenty of opportunities to observe tailed hawks, blue heron and deer, and acorn woodpeckers in their natural habitat.

Horse Riding

The visitors can also kill two birds with one stone by riding a horse through the Western town as part of Malibu Riders excursion through Malibu Creek.

Wildflower Viewing

During our first spring visit to Paramount Ranch after the wildfire destroyed most of its historic structures, we were surprised to find a big meadow dotted with yellow and white flowers right across the road from the parking lot. More blooms adorned the hills behind the former filming location. The area has been one of our favorite places to look for wildflowers near Los Angeles ever since.

Paramount Ranch | Roads and Destinations
Wildflowers near the old Western town
Paramount Ranch | Roads and Destinations
Riding horses through Paramount Ranch

A Photo Tour through the Old Western Town

Before the fire, there was one thing that could spoil your experience at Paramount Ranch: all the buildings were locked. You were not able to get inside. Although when you picked through the windows, you could see that there was nothing inside anyway. Nevertheless even now, you can still wander around the old town, immerse yourself in its majestic atmosphere, and maybe even imagine being a part of its astounding moviemaking history.

The main street with the hotel which classic sign has been portrayed in countless Western films
Paramount Ranch | Roads and Destinations
The old jail with the big Sheriff sign at the entrance.
The old Western Town | Roads and Destinations
The large building used as a city hall in movies
Agoura Hills | Roads and Destinations
The big wooden train station takes you back in time to the beginning of the 20th century
Old chapel in Agoura Hills | Roads and Destinations
The church featured in the TV show Westworld was slightly modified

With its remarkable Western town and plenty of outdoor activities to do nearby, the classic property lets you relive an integral part of Hollywood’s movie making history.


  1. Becky
    August 31, 2017 / 6:49 am

    Wow, this looks amazing and like such an amazing place to visit! Definitely will have to put this on my bucket list! 🙂

    • Zhanna
      August 31, 2017 / 7:11 am

      You really should. The place is awesome 🙂

  2. Agness of Fit Travelling
    August 31, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    Wow! This place seems so picturesque! Thanks for sharing the stunning pictures!

    • Zhanna
      August 31, 2017 / 7:25 pm

      You are welcome! 🙂

  3. Wildlife Destination
    September 9, 2017 / 2:20 am

    I adore silver screen… Maybe one day I’ll visit the US and fly in ? a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing the tips!

    • Zhanna
      September 9, 2017 / 9:17 pm

      Great to know that there are so many people like me who still love silver screen. For any old movies’ lover it is one of the must-visit places. I have no doubts that you will fall in love with this place from the first minute.

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