Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park
Friday nights come alive at Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic during the annual Carrillo Ranch Film Festival. You’ll see rare Hollywood Golden Era films starring Leo Carrillo, screened outdoors under the stars at the legendary actor’s rancho. Be sure to bring your low back chair, warm clothes, flashlight, and blanket. Movies start promptly at sunset with a showing of the Cisco Kid before the main feature. Reservations are required.
Rental information for Leo Carrillo Ranch.
Video: Leo Carrillo Ranch
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Discover the history and tranquil beauty of this former working rancho, once owned by actor Leo Carrillo. Secluded in the heart of a magnificently landscaped 27-acre canyon, this historic park contains and protects romantic hand-crafted adobe buildings, antique windmills, a reflecting pool and many other beautiful historic structures where visitors can explore and experience California history. Nature-lovers delight in gorgeous agave, bougainvillea, Birds of Paradise, plentiful trees and the company of dozens of brilliant peacocks who call the ranch home. Learn about the unique entry gate created specifically for the park through the city's public art program.
Leo Carrillo Ranch is a designated Historic National Landmark that was opened to the public in August 2003. It is connected to the citywide trails system via the 4-mile long Rancho Carrillo trail.
Self guided walking tours of the building exteriors and park grounds are available during normal park operating hours. The interior of many buildings are not accessible during self guided tours. A free, self guided walking tour brochure is available in the parking lot, Visitor Center, and Hacienda. We recommend that you begin your tour by first stopping at the Visitor Center to view our 13 minute introductory film on the history of the ranch and the life and career of Leo Carrillo.
Free guided walking tours are offered on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and on Sunday at noon and 2 p.m. These guided tours allow access to the interior of many of the historic structures, including the hacienda, as well as Deedie's house. Allow approximately 90 minutes for the entire tour. Wear comfortable walking shoes or boots. Tours depart from the parking lot. Reservations are not required.
Tours are also offered by special advance arrangement for persons with special needs or mobility requirements, groups and organizations. Tours may be modified without notice due to special events, weddings, conservation, or maintenance issues.
Visitor advisory: Leo Carrillo Ranch is a 27-acre historical park with irregular earthen and paved surfaces, including without limitations, stairs and trails. It is recommended that visitors wear appropriate shoes for the uneven terrain within this historic park. Be prepared to walk extended distances up and down moderately sloping hillsides on uneven decomposed granite trails. Wear cool, comfortable clothing and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. Wear a hat and sunscreen. Bring drinking water.
Leo Carrillo Ranch is a 27-acre historical park with irregular earthen and paved surfaces, including without limitations, stairs and trails. It is recommended that visitors wear appropriate shoes for the uneven terrain within this historic park.
- No pets allowed. Dogs are prohibited in Carlsbad's parks.
- It is unlawful to vandalize, damage, destroy, cut, injure, or remove any of the park's historic, cultural, and natural features. Carrillo Ranch is a designated local, State, and National Historic Landmark.
- Children must remain under adult supervision at all times.
- Smoking is not permitted in any city facility.
- For Leo Carrillo Ranch Photograhy Regulations click here
Barn Restoration Project Completed
This project was a joint effort of the City of Carlsbad, the Friends of Carrillo Ranch, Inc., and Save America’s Treasures. It is an outstanding example of the City working in partnership with outside groups to preserve an important part of Carlsbad’s history.
Restoration of the Barn Theater/Visitor Center that began in 2008 was completed in 2011. With the opening of the Kindle Theater in August, 2001, the public use of the barn as outlined in the Master Plan is now complete, and the barn has become an integral part of the park and its operation. Visitors are now able to gather and watch videos of Carrillo’s life and learn of his importance to national, state and local history. Brightly-colored movies posters line the walls of the theater, highlighting some of Carrillo’s roles in nearly 100 movies. The larger visitor center provides space for the increasing number of guests at the Ranch and offers a meeting place for groups and a small theater for watching movies and episodes of the ever-popular Cisco Kid series.
Carrillo’s original barn, a 30’ x 40’ wood structure completed in 1943, stored hay and grain and was central to ranch operations. It was constructed on a partial stone and concrete foundation, with an earthen floor sloping to complement the contour of the hill. Before stabilization the leaky roof, wood rot, and complete absence of most foundations threatened eventual loss through building collapse.
The Barn Theater Stabilization/Restoration Project was supported in part by a Save America’s Treasures Grant administered by the National Park Service. The stabilization for the barn included new foundations, roofing, bracing, concrete flooring, and other improvements to strengthen and prepare the barn for further restoration. Work was complicated by the uneven plane of the original barn; the contractor had to lift the walls to install foundations and partially correct the difference. New doors and hardware, a new cupola and an exterior stairway completed that phase in 2009.
The second phase of the restoration, begun in 2010, saw its transition to “adaptable reuse” of the structure with the addition of interior walls, heating and cooling systems, a restroom and office and storage space. Cedar wood panels that were constructed to mimic the previous barn siding hide insulation and structural elements. A modern theater sound system and special lighting were added to make the transition to the “Kindle Theater” complete.
Collections resources will help preserve history at the ranch
Treasured objects and artifacts held by the City of Carlsbad's Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park will be preserved for future generations with help from the IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, a core set of conservation books, DVDs, and online resources donated by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding of the nation's museums and libraries. It addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues. The city was awarded the collection as part of a nationwide competitive process.
"These libraries, museums, and archives [such as those at Leo Carrillo Ranch] are in the forefront of our call to action on behalf of America's collections," said Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of IMLS. "According to a recent national survey, our important collections are at great risk, and without them, the American story simply cannot be told to future generations." To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.
Citizens, companies, or service organization wishing to support the restoration of the ranch, or who have relevant furnishing, artifacts or memorabilia they would like to share with the public, may make gifts to the Carrillo Ranch Trust Fund.
Such donations can be in the form of cash, objects, property, or testamentary bequests.
Proceeds directly benefit Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park and assist in future restoration projects, interpretive sign program, new museum exhibits, and the Leo Carrillo Ranch Film Festival
Currently, our available grant and matching funds will only finance a portion of the barn theater restoration project. Your assistance is greatly needed to see the project through to completion. Individual and corporate donations to the Carrillo Ranch Trust Fund to be applied directly to the barn theater project will be gratefully accepted. In addition, sponsorship and naming rights opportunities are available.
For more information, please contact Kevin Granse at 760-931-1052.
Thanks to a generous grant from Home and Garden Television (HGTV) Restore America and Save America's Treasures (SAT), as well as matching funds from the City of Carlsbad, the historic stone masonry barbecue has been preserved!
Thanks for the continued support of the Friends of Carrillo Ranch.