Recently, I set out to explore the old western town of Paramount Ranch! Nestled in the hills of Malibu rests this iconic landmark and I was super excited to see what it had to offer.
The ranch used to be owned by Paramount Pictures and was used as a set for a TON of western movies back in the day. It’s privately owned now, but is still used for tv shows/film every now and then.
They’ve shot everything from classic western films with John Wayne all the way to Lizzie McGuire. Yes, LIZZIE FREAKING MCGUIRE: EVERYONES CHILDHOOD HERO. I was most excited to see the parts used in the HBO series ‘Westworld,’ specifically the church that’s used heavily throughout the show. That’s one of my favorite shows and I freaked out when I saw it!!! Total fangirl moment!!! Oh, and did I mention, LIZZIE MCGUIRE.
First off, getting there was so much easier than I expected! It was a relatively easy drive into the mountains and is 100% open to the public. There’s no charge and virtually no one there (at least during the time that I was there). It was quiet and deserted, it felt like I was transported back in time!
I want to walk you through a few of my favorite places to take photos around the ranch, that way when you go you'll have some ideas of where to head for the best photo ops!
The Sheriff's Station
The Sheriff Station was one of my absolute favorite places to stop and take photos! And you can even go as far as looking inside through the window and you’ll notice theres a full on jail inside! Too cool!
// OUTFIT DETAILS //
I decided to style a work out look for you guys in this post because the entire ranch is surrounded by outdoors and there’s definitely lots of hiking opportunities, so if you feel so inclined, take advantage and gear up for a day of outdoor hiking fun!
Sports Bra – Fabletics (similar)
Yoga Pants – Old Navy (similar)
Sneakers – Nike
// PRO INSTAGRAM TIP //
Play around with the bar at the Sheriff Station! It’s actually where the sheriff would have strung up his horse, but now it’s yours to use. There are lots of things you can do with it. From sitting on it, leaning back on it, and standing behind it. See what fun poses you can get out of having it there!
hotel mud bug
I definitely had the most fun taking photos around Hotel Mud Bug! I just found it to be so photogenic in so many different places. I had a blast playing around with angles and finding the geometry in the architecture. It makes for really cool photos that will seriously bump up your instagram game!
As for my outfit, I just knew that if I was going to a ranch that this fun hat had to come out to play! I'm not normally a hat girl, but it felt oh so appropriate for the occasion. And I found the neutrality of the clothes I was wearing really complimented the western background. So don't be afraid to keep it simple!
Hat – Nordstrom
Pro Instagram Tip
I was obsessed with the way the photos looked when you got a little peek at the ceiling above me. It added so much dimension, interest, and color into the photo! Try taking some photos at an upward angle to catch that bit of extra architecture! It will definitely pay off playing around with the angles.
There are lots of really awesome random spots around the town to take photos. You can actually pretty much stop anywhere and find a really interesting place to grab a photo. And don’t forget to peek inside of all the windows! A lot of the buildings have the inside set too to help set the mood and make you feel like you’re in a real western town.
out on the town
// OUTFIT DETAILS //
I continued with the earth tones/neutral colors for this outfit since it worked so well in the previous one. I wanted pieces that were simple, but fit with the environment perfectly. So I went with this brown shit and a denim skirt for a simple, but modern twist.
the westworld church
Ok this has got to be the coolest thing about Paramount Ranch and if you’re a Westworld fan like we are, you’ll know why! You may recognize this church as the center of the maze! That’s right, Westworld actually filmed here and this is the church that Dolores finds and discovers at the center of the maze. It was SO cool actually seeing it in person and taking photos in front of it. I mean, we literally felt like we were Westworld explorers. This is a MUST SEE for Westworld fans!
// PRO INSTAGRAM TIP //
The most fun part about the church is its symmetry. Play with that! I loved the photos where I was standing directly in the middle of the church and everything was perfectly centered. Also, play with the shape of your arms and body! If you strike an interesting pose it will have juxtaposition with the symmetry of the church. Step outside your comfort zone with this one… it will be worth it, I promise!
That was my day at Paramount Ranch. This is seriously off the beaten trail and if you’re looking for something totally new and different to do with friends during the day, definitely check this place out. It’s a bit of a drive depending on where you are, but it’s well worth your time. Let me know where on Paramount Ranch you would go to take photos first! Which was your favorite?! I can’t wait to hear!