An Arnold Fan’s Quest to Find the Commando Cabin!
Reported By: Dan Deltondo
Arnold fan from Australia, Dan Deltondo, contacted us recently about his trip to Hollwood, CA and his many visits among Arnold film locations. He saw many including the End of Days Church, Tiki Motel and the Kyle arrival alley. However, the location that he was most excited to find was the elusive Commando Cabin! Let’s let Dan take it from here.
Dan Deltondo reports:
The Commando house was A LOT harder than I thought in terms of getting access, although I literally risked life & limb to get to "the holy grail" of Arnold locations cause it hasn’t been done. Anyways, I will give you guys my exclusive report, photos and videos.
We started the day with a leisurely 1 hour drive to Mt Baldy to find the elusive Matrix Cabin. I had been obsessed with Commando growing up, it is always one of my favorite Schwarzenegger action movies and I think it looks great on Blu-Ray. About a year ago, I decided to just research the Log Cabin for fun and with little information online, no photos and videos of fans reaching it, I made it my mission to track it down.
I knew it was credited as "Mt Baldy, Chapman Ranch, Mt San Antonio and numerous other names", but there was really NO information about the house online. So i went to last resort - Google maps and Google earth! After narrowing down roughly where i believed it to be, i contacted a local real estate agent with the probably not often request. " Dear sir, I am from Australia and coming to LA in September, I am hoping to see the log cabin on the mountain from the movie Commando (1985) do you happen to know where this is?"
I got a quick reply from an agent named Pavel, who confirmed i was in the right area and gave me specific information. Sadly he told me, "you wont be able to get onto the property as it is a private residence". As someone who doesn’t take no for an answer often, i ignored the warning. Hey, i didn’t come all the way from Australia to take no for an answer.
Anyways, we headed off to Mt Baldy (about 1 hour out of LA) and drove into the little town. We parked opposite the Mt Baldy lodge (where Arnold shares his ice cream with his daughter in the opening scene) and went into the Visitor Centre. After stinging me $10 for 2 parking vouchers (otherwise you get a fine) the information center guy looked at my info and said yep, its just up the road, but you wont get on it - its private property.
Wow, these guys are big on private property up here! Then after seeing a couple of Trucks with the federation style/dukes of Hazard style flags off their vehicles, i thought i had arrived in the mid west. I spoke with a guy from the shop next to Mt Baldy lodge who advised me i have to enter the first property just after the trout farm on the right to get to the road up to the house! Yep, i had to get through 1 house to get to the cabin!
This is where it got interesting...We found the trout farm and the house just up from it. Again "DO NOT enter signs"..Well, my mate and i wandered in as there were 2-3 small houses at the base and "CHAPMAN ranch" sign at the front nailed to a tree. After walking maybe 500 meters into the property a couple of dogs welcomed us, so we ran back to the entry and went to the house on the left. We were the welcomed by a lovely lady who said, we couldn’t get up there and that even if she gave me permission to go through her property - the owner of Matrix's cabin wasn’t home and was currently away. I said "I’ve come all the way from Australia, all i want is some photos of the house". Although she was understanding and apologetic, she said she couldn’t grant us permission up the hill without the owner. DENIED.
We then got told of a few vantage points that we could get some good photos and at least see it and from my photos and videos, it doesn’t seem to have changed much at all over 25 years.
We ended up getting photos from the truck stop (where the Bear Bins are) and a road up the hill almost opposite the commando house. We had lunch at the Mt Baldy lodge and the owner Missy said i could leave my name and number on a piece of paper and pass it onto the owner. I am here for another 2 weeks, so if she happens to call and approve us to visit - we will venture back out. But i am not holding my breath for the call.
Sadly, Dan did not make it to the cabin and returned home to Australia. Let’s hope you make it back to California again sometime soon and perhaps join TAFs on a guided tour by the Cabin’s owner…and carry logs on our shoulders! Check out this Fantastic Video!
Commando Cabin found on Google Maps. Image thanks to Jesse L. Rinck