The humorist, actor, and rambling cowboy, Will Rogers lived on this site in the 1920s and 1930s. His ranch house, a folksy blend of Navajo rugs and Mission-style furniture, has become a museum featuring Rogers memorabilia. A short film presented in the visitor center highlights Rogers' roping technique and homey words of wisdom. Open for docent-led tours, the ranch house features Rogers' stuffed practice calf and the high ceiling he raised so he could practice his famed roping style indoors.
Rogers was a polo enthusiast, and in the 1930s, his front-yard polo field attracted such friends as Douglas Fairbanks Sr. for weekend games. Today, the park's broad lawns are excellent for picnicking, and there are miles of eucalyptus-lined trails for hiking. Free weekend games are scheduled April through October, weather permitting.
Also part of the park is Inspiration Point Trail. Who knows how many of Will Rogers' famed witticisms came to him while he and his wife hiked or rode
horses along this trail from their ranch. The point is on a detour off the lovely 2-mile loop, which you pick up right by the riding stables beyond the parking lot ($12 per car). On a clear (or even just semiclear) day, the panorama is one of L.A.'s widest and most "wow" inducing, from the peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains in the distant east to the Oz-like cluster of downtown L.A. skyscrapers to Catalina Island looming off the coast to the southwest. If you're looking for a longer trip, the top of the loop meets up with the 65-mile Backbone Trail, which connects to Topanga State Park.
A new visitor center with displays of the park's history, and a giftshop with books and DVDs on Rogers' life recently opened.
1501 Will Rogers State Park Rd., Los Angeles, California, 90272, United States