Tejon Ranch, one of L.A.’s historic ranches and the largest contiguous expanse of privately owned land in California, is open for overnight stays.
Guests who want to hike, mountain bike, fish or just kick back and explore its 270,000 acres — and are willing to pay at least $1,000 a night — can have their choice of two houses and two cabins.
This is the same Tejon Ranch near the L.A. and Kern county borders, about 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, that’s slated to be the site of Centennial, a master-planned community destined to bring more than 19,000 homes to Southern California’s northern fringe.
It’s one of the original Mexican land grants the likes of frontiersmen John C. Fremont and Kit Carson explored in the mid 19th century. Some stays at the ranch are on lands to be preserved, some on land to be developed. With this move, Tejon Ranch. Co. wants to lure potential home buyers to the beauty of its expansive holdings and, meanwhile, make money on lodgings.
Michael Campeau, vice president of ranch operations, says guests have an opportunity to “come onto the ranch, stay in beautiful houses and cabins in remote areas with breathtaking beautiful views, and see what’s behind the fences.” They’ll also see a working ranch, with grazing cattle, and wildlife such as deer, badgers, foxes and coyotes.
To handle reservations, the company partnered with Explore Ranches, a Texas-based company that arranges stays on private ranch lands.
►Casa Grande, four bedrooms with room for up to eight people; $1,250 a night.
►Venado, a mountainside cabin with two bedrooms, a bunk room, porch and fireplace, that sleeps up to 12; $1,500 a night.
►Cazador, a mountain cabin with three bedrooms that sleeps up to 12 people; $1,500 a night.
►Hacienda, a ranch house with two bedrooms that sleeps up to four people; $1,000 a night.
A two-night minimum stay is required. Lodgings are anything but rustic; Campeau describes the experience as a luxury stay. Guests bring their own food (there are stores in nearby Frazier Park, if you forgot something), but full kitchens and other amenities are included.
Outdoor lovers will find plenty to do: trail running; biking or four-wheeling on dirt roads; fishing at ponds stocked with catfish, bass and bluegill; and star-gazing. Once you make a reservation, a host meets you and gives you an orientation, which includes going over emergency procedures and giving you an iPad with a GIS map so you don’t get lost.
Tejon Ranch Co.’s plan for a new planned city has been controversial for decades, particularly among environmentalists. In 2008, the ranch agreed to set aside 90% of its holdings for permanent preservation and formed the Tejon Ranch Conservancy with some environmental organizations. However, other groups continue to fight plans to develop any of the key habitat in Southern California’s shrinking open space.