11 Historic California Ranches

Historic California Ranches

1. Warner's Ranch

Warner's Ranch, high in the mountains of San Diego County, was a Pioneer Ranch built in 1849. It served as a stop for the famous Southern Emigrant and Butterfield Stage Trails that brought immigrants as well as mail into California during the California Gold Rush. For a time, it was the only trading post between New Mexico and Los Angeles.

Warner's Ranch

2. Rancho De Los Kiotes

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park or Rancho De Los Kiotes is the vacation retreat of famous Hollywood actor Leo Carrillo. Built between 1937-40, he designed his ranch after the Spanish Haciendas of his ancestors. At only $17 an acre, the ranch once contained 2,538 acres. The property can be toured today and includes gardens and adobe buildings as well as a stable, barn and reflecting pool.

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

3. Daley Ranch

Robert Daley settled here to build a ranch in 1869 which is now protected as the Daley Ranch Preserve, a 3,000 acre park with more than 25 miles of trails in Escondido. A 1.2 mile hike along the ranch house trail takes you to the ruins of the ranch property while winding through beautiful canyons of oak woodland.

Daley Ranch Preserve

4. Hunt Ranch

Located in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, Wildwood Canyon State Park preserves 900 acres of wild land. The park contains oak woodland, grassland, ancient Native American crossroads as well as the ruins of Pioneer Hunt Ranch. The ranch can be reached from the parking lot by an easy 2 mile out and back hike.

Hunt Ranch Wildwood Canyon State Park

5. William S. Hart Ranch

The William S. Hart Ranch & Museum preserves the beloved home of silent film star, William S. Hart. Hart acted, directed, wrote and produced more than 75 westerns and was one of the all time great actors. He loved the Spirit of the West and built this ranch, 'La Loma de los Vientos' or 'The Hill of the Winds', to house his authentic collection.

William S. Hart Ranch

6. Will Rogers Ranch

Will Rogers State Historic Park is a beautiful ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains. Once the estate of Will Rogers, the highest paid actor in the 1930's, this ranch was his place of relaxation. With almost 200 acres overlooking the ocean, the ranch contains more than 30 rooms, 7 fireplaces, horse stables, a polo field and hiking trails.

Will Rogers Ranch

7. Morrison Ranch

Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyons contain beautiful trails among rolling hills covered in Coast Live Oaks. 150 years of ranching history can be seen at the Historic Morrison Ranch House ruins with its barn and corrals. 

Morrison Ranch Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyon

8. King Gillette Ranch

King Gillette Ranch is the perfect starting point for a visit to the Santa Monica Mountains with an informative visitor center and gorgeous grounds. The exterior of the famous 25-room ranch built in 1928 by King Camp Gillette can also be admired with a stroll.

King Gillette Ranch

9. Peter Strauss Ranch

Peter Strauss Ranch is an enchanting park in the Santa Monica Mountains. Beautiful oak woodlands surround the ranch house as well as the cactus garden, original swimming pool and bird cage ruins. Trails wind through the National Park Service property which was once the ranch for actor Peter Strauss.

Peter Strauss Ranch

10. Scorpion Ranch

Santa Cruz Island's ranching history is extensive beginning in 1839 when Mexican Captain Andres Castillero claimed the land. The first house went up by 1855 where American Dr. James B. Shaw managed the island after California became a state. He ordered French Merino sheep to the island to start a wool farm for the Civil War. By 1864, twenty-four thousand sheep grazed the island, forever changing the Native plant and animal life. 

Scorpion Ranch Santa Cruz Island

11. Spooner's Ranch

Spooner's Cove in Montaña de Oro State Park is a stunning cove on the Central Coast. Alden Spooner moved here the the late 1800's and established a farm of dairy and hog. At its peak, his ranch contained 9,000 acres and 6 miles of beautiful coastline. He built a ranch house as well as several barns and warehouse to load ships to deliver. The original house still stand as well as the 100-year-old-flooring purchased from a Sears Roebuck and Co. Catalog.

Spooner Ranch Montaña de Oro State Park