When a film location is known as “the most shot-up location in movie history” you know you’re in for an adventure. A 1-mile out-and-back trail in 23-acre Garden of the Gods threads through sandstone boulders that were natural icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age, back when this site was known as the Iverson Movie Ranch. The trail begins with a gentle ascent. Look east across the road at a hat-shaped rock that was featured in the opening of The Lone Ranger television series.
Keep following the trail among towering boulders, oaks, and diverse chaparral flora. The distinct landscape has been the backdrop for an estimated 3,500 productions, subbing as the Wild West, Asia, and Africa, and hosting stars like John Wayne and Richard Burton.
After nearly a quarter-mile, a very short spur trail leads to remnants of an ancient camera mount, a fitting base for an overlook toward grandiose Stoney Peak to the east, Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park to the west, the rolling hills of Rocky Peak Park to the north, and the endless San Fernando Valley to the south. Return to the main path and continue until it dead-ends.
To get to the Garden of the Gods trailhead, take Hwy. 118 to the Hwy. 27/Topanga Canyon Blvd. exit and turn south. After 0.5 mile, turn right onto Santa Susana Pass Rd., then right onto Redmesa Rd. Follow this to the top of the hill and park anywhere on the street. The marked trailhead is on the west side of the road. Dog-friendly!