Will Rogers State Historic Park
By the mid-1930s, Will Rogers was one of the most popular and highest paid actors in Hollywood and "America's most beloved citizen." From his start in vaudeville theater with a trick roping act, he rose to world-wide fame as a columnist, "cowboy philosopher", aviation enthusiast, philanthropist, radio personality, and movie star. During the 1920s, he bought land in Santa Monica, where he developed a ranch. Eventually, Will Rogers owned about 359 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in what is now known as the Pacific Palisades.
The ranch became the place where Will Rogers could relax with his family and friends, pursuing his favorite pastimes of riding and roping. At his untimely death in a plane crash in 1935, Will Rogers's ranch consisted of a 31-room ranch house with neighboring guest housing, a stable, corrals, riding ring, roping arena, polo field, golf course, and riding trails. His widow, Betty, gave the ranch to California State Parks in 1944 and it became a state historic park.
Hikers can enjoy a moderate 2-mile loop to and from Inspiration Point. The Rivas Canyon Trail also provides a moderate 2.1 mile hike to Temescal Gateway Park. Adventurous hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians can tackle the Backbone Trail National Trail into the Santa Monica Mountains, which can take you all the way to Point Mugu. Free trail maps are at the stand near the visitor’s center and in the park office.
Horse Riding Lessons & Trail Rides
Westside Riding School is open for riding lessons here at the park on all days, except Mondays. Horseback riding for both children and adults is taught. To schedule lessons, please please see our Horseback Riding Lessons Information Page .
Will Rogers Trail Rides provide guided trail rides on safe, reliable horses on the beautiful trails of Will Rogers State Historic Park. You will experience the park in the way Will Rogers used to love to experience it, on horseback. Will Rogers guided trail rides are available every day except Mondays. Tuesday through Fridays you can book a private guided ride by visiting http://www.willrogerstrailrides.com more information.
Equestrian visitors are welcome to bring their horses to the park for day-use to enjoy the riding and roping arena, Sarah's Point, and the trail to Inspiration Point.
Ranch House Tours
On Thursdays and Fridays, we offer public tours of Will’s ranch house every hour on the hour from 11a.m. to 3p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays every hour on the hour from 10a.m. to 4p.m. Will’s ranch house is accessible only through guided tours, there is no charge for the ranch house tours, and no preregistration is needed to take one of these tours. They are offered on a first come, first served basis for all and we can accommodate up to 20 people per tour.
Movies In The Park
Six times a year, Hollywood comes back to the home of one of its earliest stars and celebrated movies are shown the park. Bring your family and friends, a favorite lawn chair or blanket, maybe dress as your favorite movie character, grab some international cuisine from the various food trucks, enjoy the band prior to the start of the movie, take a brief tour of the home of Will Rogers, and enjoy the movie on a movie screen the size of a giant oak tree in the evening peacefulness of Will’s front lawn. For more info visit: www.streetfoodcinema.com .
Visitor Center & Gift Shop
The visitor center, as well as the various displays around the historic core of the park, helps interpret Will’s story to many explorers and you are welcome to discover them all. The visitor center is a good place to start in orienting oneself on the significance of the park with various displays that convey Will’s story and the development of his California ranch. A brief, 10-minute video will help orient visitors to the story of Will Rogers.
The Gift Store in the Visitor Center contains books about Will Rogers, DVD about Will Rogers, and Will Rogers radio broadcasts. It also carries polo mallets and polo balls, a fine line of Indian Jewelry, park keepsakes, etc. The gift store is open on Saturday and Sunday from 11a.m. to 4p.m.