Out on a trail

Out on a trail




Reagan Ranch, Malibu Creek State Park 



In 1977, the General Development Plan for Malibu Creek State Park recognized the need for an equestrian campground to be developed in the Park with 50 camping sites for horses.  That need has never been satisfied and is even greater today in 2016 – 39 years later.  We are glad that State Parks has finally committed to the process of developing this equestrian campground on the Reagan Ranch by including it in the 2005 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.

RidingHorseback riding is both an 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 even from outside the State.  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 nor attract them; it will not offend those who are bothered by the flies and manure and the wonderful smell of horses will not bother other park visitors.

President 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 governor. They already owned 2500 acres adjoining his land.  The Reagans later settled at a ranch in Santa Barbara. In 1974 the State of California acquired all the property.  Malibu Creek State Park is now about 8000 acres. The Reagan Ranch name legally stayed with the property.

So CutePresently, within the more than 150,000 acres of the SMMNRA, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, there is no equestrian campground that is easily accessible for the public.  Danielson Ranch in Pt. Mugu State Park requires a $40 ranger escort fee for driving each time 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 $40 ranger escort fee in addition to the regular fee.  Further, this site is right alongside the main Park road within view and hearing of all the hikers, bikers and vehicles that go by frequently.

Other popular equestrian campgrounds located in Southern California are reasonably accessible from major highways, and are all in very high use.  Cuyamaca State Park before the fire had 2 horse campgrounds: Los Vaqueros is the group one with 45 corrals; and Los Caballos had 58 corrals for individuals, with 16 campsites that each had parking for 2 rigs, each with at least 2 corrals, plus 24 extra corrals for overflow and day use, and each site allowed 8 people.  Cuyamaca is one of the oldest equestrian campgrounds, and it was constantly busy at both the group and individual campsites year-round.  Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has a horse campground for 50 horses; and they are always busy year-round, even in the desert.  There are 10 campsites, each with 4 corrals, plus 10 extra corrals.  They have solar showers, water hose bibs, a wash rack, a longeing area, and parking for extra vehicles.   Casper Wilderness Park is operated by Orange County; it has 30 campsites each with 2 corrals and hose bibs, and has extra corrals throughout the campground.  Additionally, there is a separate day use campground with another 10 corrals.

The SMMNRA is quite deficient in equestrian resources. This proposed facility in Malibu Creek State Park would change that situation.  It will be very popular and a consistent income producer.  The equestrian community cares about the Parks; enthusiastic, determined volunteers are willing to undertake this project.  This is an opportunity for State Parks to improve public relations by showing the community it cares about the equestrians as Park users and as keepers of the historic ways.

By fenceEquestrians have volunteered their services on many State Park committees, have done volunteer construction and maintenance of trails, and, in general, have been very strong advocates of the California State Parks. The Recreation & Equestrian Coalition (REC) is the main organization sponsoring this project. 

This 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 various and numerous organizations, clubs, and individuals. 

There are very good ancillary services within 5 to 10 miles: gas stations, restaurants, automotive repair shops, tire stores, hospitals, sheriff, feed and tack stores, farriers and veterinarians. Further, the campground provides a fire safe zone for horses in the event of major wildfires in the community. 

Ronald and Nancy 1958Funding for this project is the major consideration.  The funds will have to be privately raised, and we will be the fundraising leaders to assist State Parks in the development of the Equestrian Campground.  In addition, a reserve fund will be set up for maintenance – manure removal, sanitation services, and other anticipated long term costs.  This Equestrian Campground will serve the under-served equestrian parkland users who enjoy camping with their horses, as well as generate good will and additional revenue for the Angeles District of State Parks.

We are now at 39 years since the equestrian campground was first written into the General Plan for Malibu Creek State Park.  It was last written into the revised 2005 General Plan, 11 years ago.  Your assistance and participation are needed now and would be greatly appreciated to ensure that this equestrian facility is developed as soon as possible.

Campground Details



  • 28754 Lake Vista Dr.,
    Agoura Hills, CA 91301
  • Easy access from US101 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 400 miles of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA)


  • xx? 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
  • Five 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


  • Potable water at each campsite
  • No electric hookups (Host site only)
  • Restrooms & 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.