In the late 1920s, Paramount Pictures purchased 2,700 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains to use as a movie-making ranch. Between 1927 and 1943, the studio made more than 130 films there. The ranch served as a filming location for movies set in the American West, the eastern United States, and many other regions around the world, including South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
During the historic Paramount Era (1927-1943), the studio built numerous structures — barns, corrals, prop sheds, and sets. Many of these simple, utilitarian buildings supported film and television production activities at the ranch well into the 21st century.
The National Park Service purchased Paramount Ranch in 1980, two years after the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was established by Congress. This is the only site in the National Park System that is dedicated to telling the story of American filmmaking — both past and present.
In addition to watching film and television productions in action, the public can come to the ranch to hike, bike, and ride horses on local trails. They can also attend various special events like ranger programs, music festivals, classic movie nights, weddings, and night sky parties.
Wildfire at the Ranch
On Nov. 9, 2018, the Woolsey Fire burned through Paramount Ranch and destroyed many of the historic buildings from the Paramount Era (1927-1943). The famous Western Town, consisting of popular sets constructed in the 1980s and 1990s, was lost as well.
Rebuilding after Fire
The National Park Service and its partner, the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, are committed to rebuilding Paramount Ranch after the 2018 Woolsey Fire. The goal is to reestablish the ranch as a movie-making hub and create opportunities for people to gather for special events, participate in education programs, and volunteer with habitat restoration.
Construction: Phase 1 (2023)
The National Park Service will build four structures in the footprints of the historic Paramount Era buildings. These new structures will serve as indoor/outdoor event spaces and as the backbone for future filming. The buildings will be fire-safe and adaptable.
Pavilion - covered event space with capacity for 265 people
Prop Shed - indoor event space with capacity for 100 people
Barn - indoor event space with capacity for 200 people
Restrooms - able to accommodate large events and day-use visitors
Existing Train Depot
Construction: Phase 2 (2024+)
Once the four new buildings are complete, the National Park Service will work with film companies, partner organizations, and volunteers to again construct movie sets. Some sets will be temporary and only accessible while a movie is filming. Others will be educational and longer-lasting.
Come Back in 2024
Visit the ranch again in 2024 when construction is complete so you can enjoy the new event spaces and watch film productions in action! The National Park Service is proud to preserve the story of Paramount Ranch and looks forward to continuing the movie-making tradition!