Will Rogers State Historic Park

Overview:

Will Rogers Historic State Park is a fun place to spend the day for any van or RV nomad. The park features many hiking trails that lead into the Santa Monica Mountains and range from easy to hard. The park also has ample amenities to include restrooms, picnic tables, polo grounds, BBQs, a ranch house, a large lawn, and a visitor center. 

Adventure:

Will Rogers Historic State Park is a hidden oasis in the middle of the upscale community of the Pacific Paladases. The park offers a great place to spend the day hiking or just having a BBQ on the large grass field. 

Hiking

Will Rogers Historic State Park is normally where I go if I want to go hiking the Santa Monica Mountains. The park has several trails that lead into the enjoyable mountains.

The park also has a few miles of trails located within its boundaries that are fun. There are two main hikes within the Will Rogers State Historic Park:

  • Inspiration Point Trail: moderate 2-mile loop to and from Inspiration Point.
  • Rivas Canyon Trail: moderate 2.1-mile hike to Temescal Gateway Park.  

The park is also the start of the Backbone Trail. The Backbone Trail traverses the entire Santa Monica Mountains for 70 miles all the way to Point Mugu. This is a long multi-day hike that will reward you with spectacular scenery along its path.

Free trail maps are available at the stand near the visitor’s center and in the park office.

Dogs are not allowed on any trail that leads outside the park. But I see plenty of dogs with their owners on these trails. 

Mountain Biking

Will Rogers State Historic Park is a great starting location to reach the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains. The trails in the actual park get very crowded and are not the best for mountain biking, but outside the park, it is awesome. 

Horse Riding

The park is also available for horseback riding. You can bring your horse to the park for the day to enjoy the roping arena, Sarah’s Point, and the trail to Inspiration Point. 

Located at the park is Westside Riding School, which is open for riding lessons at the park every day except Mondays.  To schedule lessons, visit their webpage below.

Will Rogers Trail Rides also provides guided trail rides through the park. The rides are available Tuesday through Friday, and you can book a private guided ride by visiting.

Polo Matches 

The park is also home to Will Rogers Polo Club, which plays on a large grass polo field located at the park. Polo games are held every weekend, except Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day, from May to mid-October. 

The polo field is right across from the parking lot. You can park facing the field and watch a polo match without leaving your van or RV. 

Matches are free to the public to watch (you still need to pay the vehicle parking fee) and played on Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Movies In The Park

During certain times of the year, the park will have a movie night.  These nights start with free tours of Will Roger’s Ranch Home, a preshow band, and gourmet food trucks. The movies are shown on the lawn in front of the home.

Parking and Entrance Fee

The parking lot is open from 8:00 am – Sunset and has ample spots for your van or RV. Just make sure you arrive early on the weekends because the parking lot can fill up quickly, especially if there is a big polo match. 

  • Parking Fee: $12.00 per car
  • Seniors Parking: $11.00 per car
  • Large Bus (25 – 100): $125.00
  • Small Bus (10 – 24 or fewer): $50.00

It’s a privilege to have Will Rogers Historic State Park for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.

References and Other Adventures:

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Will Rogers State Beach

Will Rogers State Beach is a good place to spend the day on the beach, exploring the surrounding areas of Santa Monica and Malibu. The beach isn’t known for its great surfing but is right on the bike path to take you to the Santa Monica Pier and beyond.

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Franklin Canyon Park

Franklin Canyon Park is one of the hidden jewels of Los Angeles. The park is located less than 3-miles from the crowds and is an excellent place for any van or RV nomad to spend the day. The park has restrooms, an outdoor center, trails, a pond, and water. The road is leading into the park is narrow, so I advise against a large RV.

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