Straussed Out

Quick, which veteran TV actor played a huge role in preserving Peter Strauss Ranch, a unique, 64-acre pocket…

My Weekend Sherpa:

Want to do it Did it


Quick, which veteran TV actor played a huge role in preserving Peter Strauss Ranch, a unique, 64-acre pocket of land in the Santa Monica Mountains? (Answer found in the first sentence.) The history of the ranch is long and storied. The high-water mark came in 1940 when a 650,000-gallon, 3,000-person swimming pool was built—the largest pool west of the Rockies. The property turned to shambles, until Strauss purchased and restored it in the 1970s, eventually selling it to become included in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The pool’s still there, but it’s empty, so don’t grab your bathing suit. Instead, tie your tennis shoes for an easy amble on the Peter Strauss Trail, a 1-mile loop that surprises with its hillside solitude among dense oaks. In what might be a down payment for spring, milkmaid wildflowers are already starting to bloom along the path. Closing out the loop, you’ll pass a stone amphitheater tucked in the woods, still used for occasional performances and park ranger talks. Good show!

FIREPLACE BONUS: A 10-foot-tall, hand-carved wooden bear greets you at the entrance of Rustic Canyon General Store and Grill (2598 Sierra Creek Road. at the intersection with Kanan Road in Agoura) half a mile from Peter Strauss Ranch. Pass beneath chandeliers made from wagon wheels, and step up to the counter to order a hearty, pulled-pork sandwich. Get a beer from the tap, and relax on the patio fixed with antique, cast-iron stoves. On cold evenings, the store will put out a bucket of logs so you can keep the outdoor fire burning.

Take the 101 Freeway to Agoura Hills to exit 36 for Kanan Rd. Drive 3 miles south on Kanan Rd. to Troutdale Rd. (one block before Rustic Canyon Grill) and turn left. Drive to the next intersection, turn left on Mulholland Hwy., and make an immediate right into the park entrance. Park in the free lot and walk west along Mulholland Hwy. over Triunfo Creek to reach the ranch. Follow the road south past the ranch house to a sign pointing in two directions for Peter Strauss Trail. Go straight to hike the loop in a clockwise direction. Head into the forest and turn right at the first junction. Switch up then down the hillside to the stone amphitheater just above the ranch. Turn right to complete the loop. Use this trail map. Dog-friendly!



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