William S. Hart Park and Museum commemorates the life of the former actor and consists of 256 acres of scenic hiking trails in Santa Clarita and a live collection of farm animals in the barnyard, a vast picnic area and a charming Western-themed gift store. At first glance, it is mistaken for a regular park, but it quickly begins to reveal diverse hiking trails, historical buildings and wildlife.
William S. Hart, the famed silent film actor and Western star donated his entire property to Los Angeles for the public to enjoy. In 1927, the Hart mansion completed construction on a windy hill, he dubbed La Loma de Los Vientos, which translates to Hill of the Winds. His former home now stands today as a museum with guided tours within the park. It exhibits an impressive collection of Western artwork as well as mementos from early Hollywood, personal furnishing and artifacts representing multiple Native American cultures.
The Santa Clarita hiking trails are not too steep and fairly shaded and visitors are sure to encounter some of Hart Park’s native wildlife such as ground squirrels, whiptail lizards, and scrub jays often mistaken for Blue Jays. Farther up the hill from the Hart house are beautiful views of the Santa Clarita area, the Santa Susana Mountains and the Antelope Valley.
The park’s trail loop includes Fritz Road, which is named after William S. Hart’s beloved brown and white pinto co-star. From there, it continues on to the Lisbeth Road, also named for one of the film star’s cherished animals. A third trail, Bison Road, is a roughly one-mile round-trip hike that offers views of the park’s bison herd.
Although not native to the area this herd of American bison are descendants of a herd donated by Walt Disney in the early 60s. In 1962, Walt Disney donated American bison to the park, so the bison that currently reside there are descended from that original herd. Hart included in his will a requirement to have animals in the park so now, The Hart Park barnyard consists of a total of 74 animal residents, among them are mule deer, horses and wild boars.
Hart Park also comprises a dog graveyard where 12 of his favorite dogs are buried including William S. Hart’s beloved pinto pony, Fritz. The Santa Clarita hiking trail includes many parts to explore such as the Heritage Junction, a historical building that is maintained by the Santa Clarita Historical Society. The ghost town is a great glimpse into the past by hosting a conglomeration of eight historic buildings and a train. There’s a living legacy for the film industry, Southern California and Walt Disney himself lies within the William S. Hart Park.