"Daredevils of the West" (Republic serial, 1943)
One of the many historic movie roads on the former Lower Iverson Ranch appears in this shot from the old Allan "Rocky" Lane serial "Daredevils of the West."
Location of the shot as it appears today (Bing bird's-eye view)
In the real world, the old road does in fact lead to the top of a cliff — Nyoka Cliff. This bird's-eye view of the site shows the approximate position of the stagecoach as it speeds west toward the cliff.
The "road" as it appeared on a visit to the site in 2016
Cliff Road is completely overgrown now — in fact, it would be a stretch to call it a road, as any part of it that may have once been stagecoach-worthy has been lost to time, history and the forces of entropy.
"Life After People": Hollywood's Cineramadome gets swallowed up
One of the best treatments of entropy is found in the History Channel TV series "Life After People," which depicts what might become of the artifacts of civilization should the human race be wiped out.
Cliff Road in "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" (1959)
Back in the filming days, before entropy set in, Cliff Road was the Autobahn of movie roads: smooth, wide and well-maintained, as seen in this shot from the "Wyatt Earp" episode "Wells Fargo Calling Marshal Earp."
1959 aerial, showing a well-defined Cliff Road
The wide, well-defined Cliff Road really pops out in a 1959 aerial photo. Like most of the roads on the Iverson Ranch, the Cliff Road appeared in its share of movies and TV shows.
"The Fugitive" TV series (January 1965 — filmed in 1964)
Cliff Road had ample room for a sadistic sheriff to kick up dust in his 1964 Ford police wagon as he tormented a fleeing prisoner in "The Fugitive." This shot comes from the episode "The Nicest Fella You'd Ever Want to Meet."
Pat Hingle and worried prisoner Tom Skerritt — "The Nicest Fella You'd Ever Want to Meet"
The sadistic sheriff, Joe Bob Sims, was played with panache by Pat Hingle, and the prisoner he chased in his Ford wagon was Neely Hollister, played by Tom Skerritt. Iverson's Rock Island can be seen in the rear window.
Sheriff Joe Bob's specially outfitted Ford on Iverson's Steep Canyon Road
Joe Bob's wagon had a set of bull horns installed on the hood to maximize the intimidation factor and make a "point" about who had the upper hand — kind of silly, all things considered.
Iverson's "Steep Canyon" in modern times (2017 Bing bird's-eye view)
The station wagon sequence is stitched together using a couple of different roads on the Lower Iverson: the Cliff Road up above, and a section of Steep Canyon Road below, along the base of Nyoka Cliff.
Misinformation on the LAMountains.com website
Film historians often call Steep Canyon Road "the Stagecoach Road" — a label that has had unintended consequences by contributing to the false belief that the road was part of an actual stagecoach route into Los Angeles. In reality the road was never anything more than a movie and TV road.
Nyoka Cliff, Steep Canyon Road and the Iverson Gorge in 2018
This photo from a recent visit to the Iverson Ranch, taken looking east from across the Gorge in the Garden of the Gods, shows the area where both Steep Canyon Road and the Cliff Road can still be found.
Promo still for the 1953 Gene Autry movie "Pack Train" (photo from the Jerry England collection)
A promotional photo from 1953 gives an idea of what the road and the buttressing looked like back when the ranch was an active filming location.
Northbound on Steep Canyon Road: "The Millerson Case" (1947)
The well-maintained road was filmed regularly from the '30s into the '60s, and could easily be navigated by auto.
An impassable Steep Canyon Road in modern times
Similar to Cliff Road up above, Steep Canyon Road has been largely reclaimed by nature and today is virtually impassable in places, even on foot.
Cliff Road's "Gate to Nowhere"
There's a no-man's land along Cliff Road where the lines blur between park property and private property. This area is marked by an unusual modern "improvement" I call the "Gate to Nowhere."
"Daredevils of the West": Gate to Nowhere Rock
Remember the shot at the top of this post from the serial "Daredevils of the West"? That's Gate to Nowhere Rock at the right of the frame — with the runaway stage headed straight for the future site of the Gate to Nowhere.
"The Roy Rogers Show" (1951)
Here's a similar shot from an early episode of "The Roy Rogers Show," with Gate to Nowhere Rock again seen at the right. The episode is "Doc Stevens' Traveling Store" — and that's the store traveling along Cliff Road.
Google aerial showing a portion of the Lower Iverson
This recent aerial photo from Google shows most of the Lower Iverson, including the entire area that has been preserved as public parkland. I've pinpointed where the Gate to Nowhere and its nearby rock can be found.
Google map of the Lower Iverson: The area in green has been preserved as public land
Besides spanning a road that goes nowhere and is both unusable and inaccessible, the gate and its "Private Property" sign are totally in the wrong place. The gate is positioned well within park boundaries, on public land.