...The best discoveries are often unexpected pleasurable moments called serendipity. Those close to home spots often overlooked while right under our noses - just off the beaten path! One such Off the Beaten path is Carlsbad’s Rancho Carrillo Ranch, a 27-acre preserved hidden gem in the coastal hills of Carlsbad. At least once a year, we visit this “step back into earlier California time.” It was originally an 1750 acre cattle ranch and weekend home of actor Leo Carrillo. We walk the paths meandering throughout the ranch or take a guided tour among the Bougainvilleas gardens, ancient cactus, adobe buildings, horse barns, the early California style swimming pool and barbeque area that once hosted movie stars and celebrities. A day at the ranch is a great opportunity to photograph the dozens of roaming peacocks left by Mr. Carrillo. The ranch is mostly original and carefully maintained, and if you listen closely you can almost hear the friendly laughter of Leo Carillo entertaining his guests. An accomplished actor in Broadway and Hollywood pictures and environmentalist, he was best known for his role as sidekick “Poncho” on the television show “The Cisco Kid.” During his off time, Leo rode the Ranch's hills on his favorite horse “Loco” rounding up stray cattle and repairing fences. The two rode in numerous parades including the yearly Pasadena Rose parade with Leo seated on a beautiful silver studded saddle. Because his love for his horse, Carillo later wrote, “a tall cross on the hill at my rancho marks the resting place of my greatly beloved Palomino horse, I do not consider it strange that I thus hallow the grave of a horse." Unfortunately, over the years and encroaching home construction, the cross has disappeared with the exact location of his best “friend.”
The ranch is a wonderful and quiet place to take visitors and the family. In recent years it has become a venue for weddings in the gardens and around the sunny pool/barbeque area of Carillo Ranch. If you are considering a family reunion or gathering, it is reservable. The free (great price!) admission park is owned and nicely maintained by the City of Carlsbad and designated as a California and National Historic Landmark. Rancho Carillo is easy to find and a great place to relax and have fun as a couple or with the family. Let’s us know about your visit.
The park is open Tuesday – Sunday. Directions: From I-5 Carlsbad, take Palomar Airport Drive north, turn right on Melrose, turn right on Carillo Way, Take a quick right turn into 6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Way Lane. Carlsbad, CA 92009