Week 296: Wildwood Regional Park, Thousand Oaks

November 05, 2023

AllTrails Wildwood Teepee and Paradise Falls via Mesa Trail, 2.24 miles in and out.

AllTrails offered a new approach for Barbara's and my second visit to Paradise Falls in Wildwood Regional Park this morning. It's been seven years since we first followed Charles Fleming's Secret Walks #31 to Paradise Falls in 2016, and today's hike was equally beautiful, equally diverse. Wildwood Park offers 27 miles of hiking trails in the western Simi Hills and Conejo Valley, accessible off the 101W at Lynn Road near California Lutheran University. The Chumash occupied the area for 8 millennium until Santa Barbara Presidio soldiers Jose Polanco and Ygnacio Rodriguez received the Spanish grant that became Rancho El Conejo (Spanish for "rabbit," one of the multiple species of mammals living on the plains and in the hills). During the 1930s–1960s, Wildwood was part of the Janss Congo Ranch, another Valley ranch used for TV and film settings during Hollywood's Western film era. Today Wildwood, operated by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, is a wildly popular hiking and biking spot for good reason. Timeout magazine called Wildwood's trail system an "embarrassment of riches," a truth we experienced today. We picked up the Mesa Trail off the parking lot on W Avenida De Los Arboles, hiking west on the wide, well-tended trail surrounded by a sea of chaparral and California Prickly Pear cacti with the Arroyo Conejo in the distance. At 0.4 miles, we turned south (left) off Mesa onto the North Teepee trail for another 0.4 mile to a stop at the contemporary teepee built for rest, meetings, or picnics. From the teepee we hiked north on the Teepee Trail, the first leg of the 427 foot descent into the canyon at the bottom of Paradise Falls.  At the switchback we joined Wildwood Canyon Trail to the staircases leading us further down to the pool at the bottom of Paradise Falls' seventy foot cascade where we stopped for photos. As pretty as the fall is, warnings keep the curious out of the water— runoff from city streets, not Mother Nature, feeds the pour. But sunbeams lit the falling water this morning and the leaves on the aspen trees around the pool were turning, giving the hike a lovely autumn feel. Solid hike, moderately challenging (we had to climb back UP!) and heavily traveled with friendly hikers, kids, and dogs. Loved it.







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