State Route 126 that connects Interstate 5 in Santa Clarita, to U.S. Route 101 in Ventura. Constructed in the late 1950s, this stretch of California highway follows the banks of the Santa Clara River through Heritage Valley
Highway 126 passes through the towns of Piru, Fillmore, Santa Paula and the national landmark of Spanish Rancho Camulos, all bursting with citrus and avocado orchards, roadside stands, as well as historic landmarks, antique airplanes, and railroad history.
Heritage Points of Interest
- Rancho Camulos Museum
- Piru Murals
- Bennett’s Honey Farm
- Fillmore Fish Hatchery
- Fillmore Western Railway
- Roadside produce stands
- California Oil Museum
- Santa Paula Train Depot
Rancho Camulos Museum
Starting your adventure heading west from the Santa Clarita Valley, your first stop should be at the Rancho Camulos Museum in Piru. Established as a National Historic Museum in 2000, the compound is situated on 40 acres of pristine agricultural ground, situated within a 1,800-acre working ranch known as the Camulos Ranch Company.
The museum comprises 15 structures, all built in the 19th century, including the main adobe, a gorgeous water fountain, an outdoor chapel, a bell structure, and a winery surrounded by lush tranquil gardens. It is one the last examples of Old California.
Visitors are treated to tales told by knowledgeable docents about the people who lived and worked on the ranch as well as the story of Ramona, the 1884 novel by Helen Hunt Jackson, a love story that best expressed the plight of the American Indian.
Before leaving the Piru area, it’s a short drive to the Piru Murals located along the Camulos Bike Trial. These 16 majestic portrayals of old land grants and historic families are the works of renowned artist and muralist Carlos Callejo and tell the story of Piru’s place in Old California.Just steps from the murals, and scattered through the downtown district of Piru are 17 two-foot diameter mosaic circles that are placed on the sidewalk each corner of an intersection, aptly called the Piru Circles.
Designed by mosaic artist Helle Scharling, these unique pieces of art illustrates different aspects of the history, nature, and economics of the upper Santa Clara Valley. A brochure explaining the significance of each mosaic can be obtained at the Piru Visitors Center.
Continuing your westward trek on State Route 126, be sure not to pass up the opportunity to visit Bennett’s Honey Farm. The Bennett’s have been producing and packaging their delicious staple for over 20 years, and visitors are treated to a delectable variety of flavors to sip from in the quaint tasting room while surrounded by little wax candles in the shapes of honey jars.
There are some unusual concoctions you won’t find anywhere else, such as avocado honey, sage honey, and a bee’s wax based lip balm. There is also a bee wall located in the gift shop where you can view the little critters hard at work without the risk of being stung.
Fillmore Fish Hatchery
Just a few miles west of Bennett’s, adjacent to the Santa Clarita River Bed is the Fillmore Fish Hatchery. The hatchery is open all year to the public. Vending machines dispense fish food than visitors can toss into the trout runs. It only costs ten cents for a handful of food and admission is free. Fillmore Fish Hatchery is well worth a stop especially if you have kids along on your road trip. 612 E. Telegraph Road, Fillmore, CA 93016 Open 7 am to 3 pm.
Next up, nestled at the base of the Las Padres National Forest, you will find yourself in the small, picturesque town of Fillmore.
As you make the small departure off rural Highway 126, you will be greeted by a 1920’s-era business quarter where you are instantly immersed in an eclectic mix of agriculture, small industry and the history of the Fillmore Western Railway.
Once abandoned and now restored, the historic tracks are used today for transporting families year round on a variety of tours that take you through mountains, rivers, creeks, nurseries, and the century-old citrus and avocado orchards of the Heritage Valley.
You can enjoy the only murder mystery dinner train in southern California, climb aboard a romantic wine or dinner excursion, or depart for one of the many seasonal destinations.
Highway 126 Produce Stands
As you pass the numerous roadside produce stands along your route, it’s hard not to stop and peek at the goodies they have to offer. And a road trip through the Heritage Valley countryside would not be complete without pulling off the road and shopping for the freshest and sweetest fruits.
These mini markets offer the very best deals on the freshest produce that may have been picked that same day from a farm not too far away.Stocked up on fresh fruit, your next stop will land you in a town embedded in historic preservation of early California’s oil discovery—Santa Paula.
Your first stop should be at the California Oil Museum, where rotating exhibits of science, technology, transportation, history, and art accent the permanent petroleum exhibits that tell the story of the black gold that put this tiny town on the map.
There are plenty of other historic landmarks and unique places of interest to see in the area, including the Museum of Aviation History at the Santa Paula Airport, as well as the Santa Paula Train Depot and Railroad Plaza Park, and the Santa Paula Murals. So make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to take them all in.
Finally, after your trip through the Heritage Valley stretch your legs and enjoy the refreshing breeze of the Pacific. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset, as you end your day with a laid-back stroll down the Ventura Pier–the longest wooden pier in California.
From Santa Paula take Highway 150 into the Ojai Valley. This scenic trip takes you rolling hills and down into the town of Ojai. This quaint little town is filled to the brim with delightful shops, art galleries, and unique restaurants. For the return trip return to the Heritage Valley or follow Highway 33 to Ventura California.
Where is the Heritage Valley
The Heritage Valley runs from the city of Valencia to the Pacific Ocean inVentura. Highway 126 runs down the center of the Valley and passes through the towns of Piru, Fillmore, and Santa Paula.
The drive along Highway 126 from Santa Clarita to Ventura is 44 miles and will take approximately 2-3 hours with stops.