RidingIn 1977, the General Development Plan for Malibu Creek State Park (MCSP) recognized the need for an equestrian campground to be developed in the Park.  That need has not yet been satisfied and is even greater today in 2016, 39 years later.  State Parks committed to the process of developing this equestrian campground on the Reagan Ranch by including it in the 2004 General Development Plan for MCSP.  At the present time, equestrians are the most under-served State Park users, and they are also the most under-served camping user.

Horseback riding is both a historic usage and a traditional way of life in these mountains.  Many of today’s State and National Park units bear the old ranch names – Will Rogers State Park, Trippett Ranch, Musch Ranch, Circle X Ranch, Paramount Ranch, Danielson Ranch, King Gillette Ranch, and also Reagan Ranch with its historic stables.  State Parks can keep alive that historic and cultural tradition by having a first-class equestrian campground in the Angeles District.  All Park visitors will have an opportunity to understand and appreciate the contribution that the horse has made to society.  The trails in the Santa Monica Mountains provide excellent horseback riding, and this facility will attract visitors from all areas of California and beyond.  It will be the public’s long-sought recreational opportunity to have this destination campground site and also to consider it as a stopover site on a long trip. Since it is located away from other park facilities, it will not displace other visitors.

NancyPresident Ronald Reagan owned the site from 1957 to 1967 as part of a 290 acre land purchase.  The Ranch was called Yearling Row, and he raised Arabian horses.  He sold the Ranch to 20th Century Fox studios when he became the governor of California. The studio already owned 2500 acres adjoining his property.  The Reagans later settled at a ranch in Santa Barbara. In 1974 the State of California acquired all of the land.  Malibu Creek State Park is now about 8000 acres. The Reagan Ranch name legally stayed with the property.

Presently, within the more than 150,000 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) there is no equestrian campground that is easily accessible for the public.  Danielson Ranch in Pt. Mugu State Park requires a ranger escort fee to drive in and out of the campground, in addition to the campsite fee.  This is a great hardship as it is difficult for everyone in a group to always arrive at one exact time due to traffic holdups, varying distances, leaving work at different times, etc.  The Sycamore Group campground also has a ranger escort fee in addition to the regular fee.  Further, this site sits alongside the main Park road within view and earshot of passing hikers, bikers and vehicles.

By fenceOther popular equestrian campgrounds located in Southern California which are reasonably accessible from major highways have very high usage: 

  • Los Vaqueros group campground
  • Los Caballos
  • Cuyamaca (one of the oldest equestrian campgrounds)
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Casper Wilderness Park (Orange County)
  • Cuyamaca State Park had 2 horse campgrounds (destroyed by a fire)

Reagan Ranch 1958The SMMNRA is unfortunately quite deficient in equestrian resources. This proposed facility in MCSP would change that situation.  It will draw a steady flow of equestrians and provide consistent revenue.  The equestrian community cares deeply about the Parks.  There is a large, enthusiastic, group of determined volunteers willing to undertake this project.  This is an opportunity for State Parks to improve public relations by demonstrating to the community that it values equestrians as Park users and as keepers of the historic ways.

Equestrians volunteer their services on many State Park committees, assist with construction and maintenance of trails, are members of the Mounted Volunteer Patrol, and are often very strong advocates of the California State Parks. The Recreation & Equestrian Coalition (REC) is the primary sponsor for this project. 

The equestrian campground project has the support of State Legislators Senator Fran Pavley, Assembly member Julia Brownley, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, as well as several organizations, clubs, and individuals.

Malibu Creek State Park Final General Plan

Campground Details (Concept Plan)


20160330_163118Planned Location

  • 28754 Lake Vista Dr., Agoura Hills, CA  91301
  • Easy access from US 101 freeway
  • Entrance road is paved
  • Nearby intersection is a 4-way stop


  • Immediate access to trails linking to Paramount Ranch, Liberty Canyon, Malibu Creek State Park, King Gillette Ranch, and the Backbone Trail, as well as 500 miles of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA)

20160326_131439Property as Planned

  • About 12 acres
  • 1100 ft along Mulholland Hwy – northern edge
  • 260 ft North from parking area to Mulholland   – western edge
  • 165 ft North from service road – eastern edge

Campsites as Planned

  • Two 12’ x 24’ corrals at each campsite
  • Threaded hose bib at each campsite
  • Picnic table at each campsite
  • Hitching rail at each campsite
  • Extra parking for one vehicle at each campsite
  • 20160326_132546Five additional corrals throughout the campground  – 18’ x 18’ and 24’ x 24’
  • 60’ round pen / turnout area
  • Day use corrals nearby
  • Four 12’ x 12’ corrals and a picnic table
  • Handicapped camping sites (2)
  • Parking available for living quarter rigs – not at campsites
  • Some sites available for travel emergencies
  • Entire campground to be fenced
  • For use by individuals and groups
  • Onsite campground host

Utilities as Planned

  • P2040877Potable water at each campsite
  • No electric hookups     (Host site only)
  • Restrooms and showers:
    • Solar lights
    • Power outlets
    • Separate for men and women
    • Hitching rail
  • Commercial manure pickup

Project Timeline


About REC

The history of REC begins in 2000 when it was discovered that LA County was trying to get rid of horses in the Triunfo-Lobo Canyon areas with a new zoning change.  This was the catalyst for equestrians to unite and fight, and therefore Recreation & Equestrian Coalition (REC) was formed.  The new zoning would have eliminated legally owned equestrian commercial facilities. There were several horse facilities that would have been impacted by the new zoning.  These facilities served the public by offering boarding, riding lessons, and working with youth and handicapped individuals. REC mobilized and reached out to a wide cross section of equestrians no matter what their riding discipline.  It was estimated that 400 people attended the meeting at the Water District to protest the new zoning.  As a result of these efforts LA County withdrew the proposed zoning change.

Today, REC continues to protect and defend the region’s rich natural diversity and promotes public/private partnerships to preserve and expand visitor-serving recreational facilities.