Nothing is more Southern California than the movies. It’s our very own homegrown industry and that puts us at ground zero in the dreams of the whole world. We see glimpses of the movie industry at nearly every turn: a recognizable face in the grocery store, a filming crew on location clogging streets, driving by the busy studios, or Variety at the newsstand with headlines like “Buffo! Socko!” The movie business surrounds us. We love it.
So with this in mind, let’s go on an easy stroll where the milieu of making movies, really old movies to be sure, still lingers in the air. Here’s what we want for our outing:
First it must be free and close to home, and, of course, mom and kids friendly. And pet friendly. The path should not be too and easy to walk. Oh, yes–and shaded. After all, this is Southern California.
Believe it or not, there are hikes that do fit this description. One that quickly comes to my mind is the Corriganville Regional Park in Simi Valley. You’ve never been there? Well…
Ray “Crash” Corrigan, a cowboy and movie stunt man, bought land out beyond the rim of Los Angeles in Simi Valley and created a filming location as well as a western movie theme amusement park and named it Corriganville. The place became quite famous in its day but most of the park is gone now.
Corrigan’s land eventually became the current regional park. However the man-made lakebed, now named Robin Hood Lake, is still there as is the sunken room where cameras could film under the water through thick windows. And those rock formations look so familiar. Didn’t we see Johnny Weissmuller dive into a crocodile infested river to save Maureen O’Sullivan from up there? I’m sure of it! This is where Tarzan saved Jane.
The Corrigan Regional Park at 7001 Smith Road, Simi Valley, welcomes families looking for an and easy and interesting place to stroll. There are port-a-potties, mutt mitts (you know, to pick up Fido’s doo-doo), benches, informative plaques for kids to read and a couple modest shaded loops (around the lakebed is about a half to three-quarters of a mile) where mom and dad can meander leisurely with the stroller, picnic, and take pictures.
Originally you had to travel the Santa Suzanna Pass to get there, but now it’s accessible by the Ronald Reagan Freeway. Take the 118 to Kuehner Drive, Simi Valley, and then go a couple miles south to Smith Road. Make a left turn onto Smith Road and proceed to the parking lot, no charge. Be sure to pack a snack, water and your camera. Pop the baby in the stroller and enjoy.
After your outing take a moment and share your comments with other families like yours at my favorite hiking website: www.thishikingtrail.com.