Wildwood Park is a popular hiking area for those near Thousand Oaks, California. As someone who lives in Ventura County, it’s even close enough to make it a day hiking destination. This trail will provide you with amazing canyon view vistas and even a rare Southern California waterfall – hence the name, Paradise Falls.
Thousand Oaks, CA
If you type “Paradise Falls Trailhead” into your GPS it’ll take you to the parking lot. There’s plenty of free parking available, even with the seemingly always present crowds. On that note: Yes, this is a very popular spot on the weekends, and I’ve seen many group hikes take place here.
To get to Paradise Falls, follow the long straight dirt Mesa trail into the park until you reach a marked sign for Paradise falls on the left. Most trails here are well marked and since Paradise falls is such a popular hiking destination, the signs leading there are easy to follow. Once the marked trail takes a turn left, it becomes a downhill hike. Keep going straight to find a recreation of a Tepee. The view is really pretty here since it overlooks the canyon.
After taking in the view, turn right at the tepee and begin the descent to the waterfall. Keep following the signs to arrive at Paradise Falls. The waterfall itself drops about 40 feet into a pool below. There are many signs here warning against swimming and climbing in this area. The reason for this is that the water isn’t the cleanest since it’s fed by both natural and street run-off.
Continue into the park:
Instead of turning around to go back the same way we came, my mom and I extended the hike by continuing along the shaded lower trail that connects to Lizards Rock. This trail follows the creek downstream from the waterfall. It crosses over the water a couple times too, so the path is sprinkled with short wooden bridges. Also, I was surprised at the numerous picnic tables that are located down here. It’d be a great camping spot.
We were surprised to find that this path will take you past a large water treatment facility. Then the trail becomes steep as it climbs up to meet Lizards Rock and then returns to the main Mesa Trail. You can follow the wide and easy Mesa Trail directly back to the parking lot. This whole trail is about 4 miles round trip.
Have you done this hike? If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! Also, feel free to share your favorite hike in Thousand Oaks!
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