Winding its way through the Santa Monica Mountains, Mulholland Highway is a scenic route named after William Mulholland, constructed in the 1920s and billed as the highway “to take Angelinos from the city to the ocean.”
Today the stretch of legendary highway is the playground of the rich and famous and the auto enthusiast, with their sports cars and motorcycles. Starting in Calabasas, the first stop along the way is the 588-acre King Gillette Ranch situated adjacent to Malibu Creek Park.
King Gillette Ranch
Offering an unblemished view of California’s rich history, the park features Gillette’s historic Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion and other structures that were part of the original landscape. The Visitor Center for the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area is housed in the ranch stables. The visitor center offers a wealth of information about the area. 26800 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, California.
Cornell Winery & Tasting Room
Just a few miles up the highway, travelers will enter an area known as “The Three Magical Miles” of Mulholland Highway. Cornell Winery is in the center of the Magical Miles area and is the perfect place to stop for food at the Old Place Restaurant. Sip some wine and take in some of the local art that adorns its interior. 29975 Mulholland Hwy, Agoura, California.
Adjacent to the winery is Peter Strauss Ranch, which was once inhabited by the Chumash Indians before becoming part of Rancho Las Virgenes after the Spanish colonization. In 1976, actor Peter Strauss purchased the property then later sold the ranch to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which today allows visitors to enjoy its natural and cultural history. 30000 Mulholland Hwy, Agoura Hills, California.
Paramount Ranch is located in the 2700-acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The ranch was once used to make movies and television westerns and is now open for visitors to stroll through what remains of its western town facade. Another popular hike is to the MASH film site in Malibu Creek State Park. 2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, California. The western town was destroyed down during a wildfire.
Malibou Lake is nearby; although private, you can drive along its border, where travelers can sneak a peek at the many multimillion-dollar estates that line its shoreline. Scenes from the original Frankenstein movie were filmed on the shore of Malibou Lake.
Mulholland Highway “Snake”
From the lake, the highway veers south and winds its way through a section called the “snake” — a short 21-turn section of highway that is often a parade of sports cars and motorcycles. At the top of the snake is a vista point with a turnout. This area on any weekend is packed with people watching all the cars go by. The snake section has been closed to traffic since the Woolsey Fire.
Rock Store Mulholland Highway
Another stop along the highway is the famous motorcyclists and biker hangouts in the world. Known as the Rock Store, this Mecca of motorized madness is one the best places to drink, eat and enjoy some of the coolest machinery known to man. 30354 Mulholland Hwy, Cornell, California.
Weekend warriors and Hollywood’s famous rub elbows here on any given weekend, as the Rock Store’s parking lot, is filled with interesting and exotic motorcycles (and a few cars), whether of the sports variety or the American V-Twin chopper type. Rock Store Website.
Finally, along the final stretch of Mulholland Highway heading toward the Pacific Ocean is the Connemara Ranch, which provides some of southern California’s best horseback riding. Hour-and-a-half trail rides are offered to those interested and do not require any prior experience. The ranch is located at 5957 Cavalleri Rd, Malibu, California.
Mulholland Highway includes all of the perfect trimmings for a great family excursion. So, toss the kids in the car and head out for a relaxing day in the country that won’t break the bank.
Sometimes the journey is about more than the destination; it’s about the stops along the way. So the next time you’re headed down the 20-mile stretch of Mulholland Highway from Calabasas to Leo Carrillo State Beach, be sure to make a few stops along the way.