Leo Carrillo (1881 -1961) was an actor and conservationist.
As an actor, he appeared on Broadway and in more than 90 films, but it wasn’t until the 1950’s with The Cisco Kid did he become a household name. Carrillo played Pancho on the popular television western until the series ended in 1956.
As a conservationist, Carrillo was equally successful. He was very much in support of recreation opportunities for the public. He served on the California Beaches and Parks Commission for 18 years and was implemental in the development of Anza Borrego Desert State Park and in the acquisition of Hearst Castle. He was once referred to as “Mr. California” for his work as the state’s Ambassador of Goodwill.
In 1937, Carrillo bought the first 840-acres of what would eventually become Leo Carrillo Ranch. At one point the former working ranchero surpassed 2,500-acres. Today, visitors can tour the historic California-style rancho that Carrillo worked so hard to build. The now 27-acre ranch contains 18 of the original buildings, including a house, barn, work sheds, and stables and many other buildings have been renovated for preservation.
See adobe structures, old windmills, a reflecting pool and cabana, carriage house, and farm equipment, such as Big Red, which was used to harvest acres of lima beans on the property, but now sits idle. Wander through beautiful gardens and watch for free-roaming peacocks perched atop the surrounding buildings. The ranch is home to dozens of them, including a white one, and they definitely enjoy having their photo taken.
Be sure to stop by the barn, which is now the Visitors Center and theater. Watch a video to get an overview of the ranch and then pick up a map and take a self-guided tour. Or, on Saturdays, take a 90-minute guided tour of the ranch.
Leo Carrillo Ranch is a pleasant and tranquil place to relax and learn about the past. It is located approximately 40 miles from downtown San Diego. Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 9am – 6pm, Sunday from 11am – 6pm. Admission: FREE.
Leo Carrillo Ranch
6200 Flying Leo Carrillo Lane