As the only stage ride in the U.S.A. like it, the Warner-Carrillo stage rides again! On Sunday, November 13, 2022, a one-of-a-kind celebration of the Old West: stage coach rides from noon to 4 pm at the 1850’s Warner-Carrillo Ranch House Museum in Warner Springs.
The ranch house built in 1857 by Vicenta Carrillo, a prominent Californio woman rancher, the museum sits beside San Diego County’s Southern Emigrant Trail, one of the most famous and earliest trails and stage routes in American history—the Butterfield Overland Stage.
The historic setting is part of a huge expanse of natural open space, an area virtually unchanged from the mid-19th century and the great Western migration. Visitors on November 13 may board Save Our Heritage Organisation’s reproduction Concord stage, pulled by two dashing Belgian draft horses.
While the rides - will last minutes, a typical Butterfield Overland Stage Route took 24 days and nights. From 1858 to 1861, the longest stage route in the world ran from St. Louis to San Francisco, and stopped here. According to the historic Tips to Stagecoach Passengers, it was “no pleasure ride.” San Diego-bound passengers transferred here to a local stage line.
The only such stage ride event in the country, visitors can experience the early California-era history that brought thousands to this place at one time. Stage and ranch house visitors are welcome to take photographs and enjoy the amusements provided by Judy Taylor, singer, songwriter, Wild West trick roper, and gun spinning and bull whip entertainer, and the Hole in the Wall Gang, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the outlaw legends of the Old West and who have been known to sometimes rob the stage en route.
Musicians will play western tunes as well as jazz, so a jam session may well break out. While waiting for the stage, you can also take in the newly enriched interpretive displays in the ranch house. Ranch house tours and complimentary refreshments for all guests.
The passenger fare on the Concord stage is $25 for SOHO members, $35 for non-members. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance on the stage coach ride event page on SOHO's website: SOHOsandiego.org
To simply enjoy the celebration and ranch house museum tour without a stage ride, admission can be paid the day of the event and is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children under 12. Kids five and under are free.
Located on San Felipe Road (San Diego County Route S2) a half mile east of the State Route 79 junction. Warner-Carrillo Ranch House is owned and restored by Vista Irrigation District (VID), and operated by Save Our Heritage Organisation, which is devoted to preservation and education, and which played an integral role in saving the site.
Photo by Patrice Malloy