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Reagan Ranch Tour

 

Click on a point of interest above to find out more.



Special Acres at the Reagan Ranch

The Ranch Home

This section of the Ranch includes the 1872 adobe home, the front porch and stone patio where the historic tax cut table is located, and the side lawn where the Reagans regularly entertained friends and family. Ronald Reagan built much of the home himself. He designed and constructed the stone patio and the front porch room. He took great pride in choosing the exact building materials used, down to the old ceiling beams in the porch room. He even laid the linoleum floors seen throughout the house.

Michael Reagan once reminded us about his father, "He was a builder; a builder of a house, a builder of a Ranch, and a builder of relationships."

The house is not only unique because of the thought and labor the President put into many aspects of its construction, but also because of the abundance of original artifacts that fill its interior, from the President's original book collection to his riding boots in the master bedroom.

It is here at the house where students come to grasp the character and humility of America's 40th President - they truly get to know the principled person that was Ronald Reagan.

Grazing Pasture

Adjacent to the simple adobe home, these acres encompass a part of the Ranch very special to President Reagan - this peaceful vista was the President's favorite view. Imagine the tranquility President Reagan must have felt as he sat on his patio and looked out onto the rolling hills of his beloved Ranch. Visitors today feel that same serenity as they watch the horses feed and the occasional deer pass through the meadow.

Hanging Tree

President Reagan was fascinated by each aspect of Rancho del Cielo, and the history of the property was a favorite topic of discussion whenever he welcomed his guests. This acre dates back to the early days of the Ranch, then known as Rancho de los Picos. During that time, bandits roamed the mountain pass robbing the occasional stagecoach that passed that way. This acre's large oak tree, known as "Hanging Tree," is scarred with the remnants of those early days. Visitors can still see the cross carved into the bark with several notches which, according to legend, mark the institution of frontier justice.

Dos Vistas

Rancho del Cielo really is the "ranch in the sky," and nowhere on the Ranch does that reality ring more true than at Dos Vistas. From Dos Vistas, or "two views" atop a mountain surrounded by trees, you see on one side the glistening Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands below while on the other - the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. President Reagan frequently visited this beautiful spot while horseback riding. Peggy Noonan wrote of the views in her book, When Character Was King, "In late April the mountains are a beautiful lush green... There is a point...within range of mountains, the ocean, the fogbank, the Channel Islands, Santa Barbara... where you see the coastline below running east and west. The sun rises on one end of the beach and sets on the other. You are stunned with the beauty of the place, and now you know why they call it Rancho del Cielo."

House Vista Overlook

In his book, Dutch, Edmund Morris wrote how President Reagan had an exact image in his mind of what the vista from his front patio should look like. The House Vista Overlook encompasses that view, and from this acre at the edge of Boot Hill next to the Pet Cemetery, visitors are afforded one of the most serene views of the President's simple Ranch home. From here you look across the pastures at the adobe, the guest house, and Lake Lucky with just a sliver of the Pacific Ocean in the distance as the backdrop.

Lake Lucky

Enchanting Lake Lucky was home to "Tru Luv", the canoe President Reagan gave Nancy in 1977 on their 25th wedding anniversary.

Freedom Lake

Located just off of Pennsylvania Avenue and a short distance from the Ranch adobe home, Freedom Lake provides a peaceful setting and backdrop to Freedom Wall where abundant wildlife and Ranch horses can be seen grazing in the serenity.

Snipers' Point

From the top of the mountain, the U.S. Secret Service detail had a bird's eye view of President Reagan, whether he was riding horseback, working, or relaxing at Rancho del Cielo. From Snipers' Point, a military counter-sniper team was always on patrol, continuously surveying the property to ensure the safety of both the President and First Lady.

Freedom Wall

Freedom Wall is the one addition made to Rancho del Cielo by Young America's Foundation. Here, future generations of visitors will have the opportunity to recognize and thank the many great Americans who have given generously to ensure that the Reagan Ranch is preserved for all time as a living memorial to Ronald Reagan and his leadership of the Conservative Movement. Those special supporters include, among many others - Charlton Heston, Donald Rumsfeld, Pat Sajak, Tom Clancy, and Edwin Meese III.

Psalm 121 Overlook

From this overlook, visitors have a wonderful view of the Santa Ynez Valley and nearby Lake Alisal. President Reagan often quoted the 121st Psalm when he talked about the Ranch: "I look to the hills from whence cometh my strength? My help cometh from the Lord - the Maker of heaven and earth."

Gateway to Freedom

The unassuming front gate to Rancho del Cielo is a "Gateway to Freedom" for the thousands of young people who visit the Reagan Ranch to learn about Ronald Reagan's conservative principles of personal responsibility, strong national defense, and free enterprise.

U.S. Secret Service Command Post

The Secret Service Command Post was an integral part of Reagan's "Western White House," as it overlooked the main adobe home. President Reagan was known to go to the Secret Service on occasion at the Command Post to visit or to watch a sports game on the color television - a commodity that he did not have in his simple adobe home. It is the only remaining federal building on the Ranch property.

Hay Barn

The Hay Barn is located on a hill above the Ranch adobe and adjacent to the Secret Service Building. This barn housed ranch equipment and feed for the ranch livestock. During the presidential years, Ronald Reagan designated the barn for use by the Secret Service and their federally-owned horses. The hay stored there was separated into federal feed storage and Reagan feed storage. Reagan was always careful to personally pay for the feeding and upkeep of his own horses. The hay barn still houses the president's red 1985 Ford Ranger, his blue Ford tractor skiploader, and the large wood chipper known as the "Gipper's Chipper."

Helipad

Bald Mountain and the Helipad atop it were tremendous hubs of activity at Rancho del Cielo during the eight years the Ranch operated as the "Western White House." Here, the President's helicopter, Marine One, would land, and the President would hop behind the wheel of one of his ranch Jeeps to drive down Pennsylvania Avenue to his beloved adobe home. The helipad itself is gone now - and this is the way Ronald Reagan wanted it once his presidency came to an end. The field is now, in the words of Peggy Noonan, "covered with wildflowers" and boasts some of the best views on the property.

Pennsylvania Avenue

In the spirit of the "Western White House" the Secret Service dubbed the main thoroughfare at the Ranch "Pennsylvania Avenue" after it was paved for safety reasons. They gave President and Mrs. Reagan a sign to place on the porch of the adobe that read "The Reagans, 1600 Penna. Ave." This Pennsylvania Avenue looks a bit different from the one in Washington, D.C. Rather than connect the White House to the Capitol; this road carries guests from the Gateway to Freedom past the Ranch house entrance and on to the helipad.

Boot Hill

Boot Hill is one more place where you see the character of Ronald Reagan. Here, you see the heart of the man - this is where he placed the headstones he carved with the names of his beloved ranch animals and laid them to rest. Set upon the ridge opposite the ranch adobe, many of the President's dogs, some horses and livestock lie at rest. "Old Duke" and even Mrs. Reagan's favorite horse, "No Strings," are buried here.

Ranch Caretaker Home

The Reagans added the caretaker's home to the property in the 1981. Ronald Reagan had a caretaker live up at the Ranch to ensure that the animals and property were properly cared for in his absence. Today, Young America's Foundation also has a full-time caretaker who resides on the property. He helps provide security, cares for the animals, and takes care of the trails. He is also charged with maintenance of the Ranch and the tremendously important task of preserving the Ranch for future generations.

Tack Barn

So much of life at the Ranch was centered in or around the Tack Barn. The Tack Barn itself housed the President's ranch vehicles, his saddles and riding tack, and his tools for his busy Ranch life. Peggy Noonan wrote about the Tack Barn in her book, When Character was King: "It was in the Tack Barn that Reagan would saddle his horse and Nancy's horses. He didn't like anyone else to do it, and would do it himself. When he was done he'd ring the bell, an old railroad locomotive bell, to tell her to come up from the house, and they'd go horseback riding." The tack barn still houses so many items that speak volumes about Ronald Reagan: among them, the Montgomery Ward riding lawn mower with a presidential seal on its hood, the President's trusty old red Willys Jeep, and the rows of axes, and chainsaws that saw action out on the Ranch trails.

Heart Rock

On May 27, 1977, as the Reagans rode their horses together along a trail at the Ranch overlooking the Pacific, Ronald Reagan stopped to engrave his and Nancy's initials in a rock now known as "Heart Rock." The Reagans had recently purchased their "Ranch in the Sky" and many changes were still ahead, but the endearing love between Reagan and Nancy would be permanently etched in the Ranch history. Later, their children would also sign their initials in the rock.

Valley Vista

Overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley, the vista offers a spectacular view of many of President Reagan's favorite riding trails. The trails can be seen cut through the oak, madrone, and manzanita trees that cover the property. Weather permitting, President Reagan would ride these trails every morning enjoying the beautiful scenery overlooking the valley and Solvang and Santa Ynez. These rides would permit him time to clear his head of Washington DC and politics and develop new, fresh ideas for his administration. While riding his favorite trails, he would discover new areas of the Ranch trails to clear with the help of his good friends Barney Barnett and Dennis LeBlanc.

The Executive Entrance Gate

Entering through the black cast iron gate at the Ranch entrance is the first view that welcomes any visitor to President Reagan's "Ranch in the Sky." The simple adobe ranch house and the pristine lake behind it offer a glimpse into the character of Ronald Reagan. Visitors also stifle a chuckle as they pass a Kangaroo Crossing sign, a small indication of the humor of America's 40th President. Not only is this the entrance that welcomes young students to the Ranch today, it was also used by such dignitaries as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II, and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

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