Have you ever wanted to visit a real western movie set? You can do just that in the hills above Yucca Valley in the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities. In the late 1940s, an idea was conceived to create a practical Western movie town and location studio.
Dick Curtis found the perfect setting while horseback riding through the mountains south of Yucca Valley. He was joined in this endeavor by Roy Rogers, Russell Hayden and members of the Sons of the Pioneers, after whom the town was named.
Pioneertown became a permanent location for western movies, and was also the setting for the Gene Autry Show, The Cisco Kid, and many early TV westerns. In the late 1940s and early ‘50s Pioneertown was used strictly for what it was originally intended, an all-inclusive Western movie location, as well as a functioning community with motel rooms and a restaurant-bar for cast and crew.
Incredibility enough, many of the buildings in modern-day Pioneertown stand almost as they did decades ago. They are genuine buildings instead of facades or false fronts. Take a walk along scenic Mane Street and visit the many shops that now occupy the buildings.
For two blocks the street is open to hoof and foot traffic only. You’ll visit Kester’s Trading Post and General Mercantile where you’ll find a wide variety of merchandise. There’s a Goat’s Milk Soap shop where you can meet the goats who give the milk to make the soap.
In the Pottery, Thomas and Amara Alban create beautiful and practical pieces for use in your home, or as gifts for the special people in your life. They are joined by several other local artists displaying paintings, prints, jewelry and pottery. Explore the leather shop, Town Hall, Marshall’s Office, the Livery and Bank.
Freely Skies Prop, formerly a Hay and Feed Barn, is a functioning sound stage. The Moharve Mercantile Museum displaying Country Store and Butcher Shop Collectibles, owned by Harvey and Monika Legrone, is available by appointment only. Worth the visit. Call 760-365-3425 for reservations.
For a unique experience, consider spending a night at the Pioneertown Motel. It was built for the biggest movie stars of the 1940's & has been restored with that in mind.
A not-to-be-missed experience is Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palacewhere a rustic ambiance and delicious food are the order of the day. In the evenings, you can enjoy live music while your dining.
Come on a 2nd or 4th Saturday April through June, then again in September through October to see The Mane Street Stampede. Dressed in vintage costumes, this all volunteer performing troupe puts on a show filled with six-shooters and laughter for all ages.
On Sundays April through October Gunfighters For Hire takes to the street and the entire family will have a great time watching an afternoon of old west shootouts, history, gunslingin’ varmints, and just plain fun.
Pioneertown offers an experience that is uniquely its own.
If you enjoy getting out in nature, nearby you will also find the largely undiscovered Pioneertown Mountain Preserve.