Wildwood Regional Park

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Wildwood Regional Park
Little Falls waterfall.
Type Regional park
Location Simi Hills and Conejo Valley,
Ventura County, California
Coordinates 34°13′15″N 118°54′40″W / 34.22083°N 118.91111°W / 34.22083; -118.91111Coordinates: 34°13′15″N 118°54′40″W / 34.22083°N 118.91111°W / 34.22083; -118.91111
Area 1,765 acres (7.14 km2)
Created 1967
Operated by Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA)
Status Open

Wildwood Regional Park is a suburban regional park in the western Simi Hills and Conejo Valley, in Ventura County, California. It is located in western Thousand Oaks, northern Newbury Park, and southern Moorpark.

The park consists of 1,765 acres (7.14 km2), and is connected to adjacent open-space areas comprising an additional 1,400 acres (5.7 km2).[1] The park is operated by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA).

Lizard Rock, in western Wildwood Park.
Paradise Falls.


Wildwood Regional Park was home to the Chumash people[2] for more than 8,000 years − before it became a part of the Rancho El Conejo Spanish land grant in 1803, during the colonial Alta California era. There are numerous archeological sites in Wildwood. Some of the artifacts discovered here include stone tools, shell beads and arrowheads. A Chumash village known as Yitimasɨh was located where Wildwood Elementary School sits today.[3]

Sheep and cattle grazed the area for much of the 19th- and early 20th century. It was also used as a movie ranch (Janss Conejo Ranch) for the Hollywood film industry from the 1930s through the 1960s.[4] Various wild west movies were filmed here, such as Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier,[5]Spartacus, Gunsight Ridge, the Grapes of Wrath, Duel in the Sun and Wuthering Heights. Television series were also filmed here, such as Bonanza, Dodge City, Gunsmoke, the Rifleman, Flaming Star, the Big Valley and Wagon Train, as well as films[6] The park is still occasionally utilized as a filming location for contemporary TV series and commercials.[7]

The park was created in 1967 when the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) bought Mount Clef Ridge and Wildwood Canyon from the Janss Investment Company land developers. It was merged with Wildwood Mesa Park in 1987, and is now administrated and operated by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), which is a joint organization by the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) and the City of Thousand Oaks.


The park offers recreational outdoor activities, including: hiking, mountain biking, jogging, horseback-riding, picnicking, educational tours, interpretive programs, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Some of the popular attractions in the park includes the 70 feet (21 m) cascade of Paradise Falls,[8] as well as the Arroyo Conejo Creek and creek-bed, the large wooden teepee, the Indian Cave.[9] The Lizard Rock formation is a serrate volcanic outcropping in the Mount Clef Ridge.[10]

At Lizard Rock, Teepee Overlook, and similar higher elevation areas, there are panoramic views of the Conejo Valley.


The park is home to fourteen nature trails covering over 27 miles,[11]

Among the most popular hiking trails are the 2.5 mile Mesa Trail Loop, 3 mile Lizard Rock Trail, 3 mile Moonridge Trail, 3 mile Paradise Falls Trail, 3 mile Indian Creek Loop, 4 mile Wildwood Park Loop, 6 mile Lower Butte Trail Loop, 6 mile Lynnmere Trail, 6.3 mile Santa Rosa Trail (going to the hills by California Lutheran University), 6.5 mile Santa Rosa Loop, and the 7 mile Hill Canyon Trail.[12]

For the ain park entrance, from the Lynn Road exit on the 101 Freeway (Ventura Freeway) and take Lynn Road northbound for 2.5 miles to Avenida de Los Arboles. Then turn left and continue for 0.9 miles to the end of the street at Big Sky Drive.[13] There are numerous other trailheads, including: by 398 Briar Bluff Court, 2601 San Miguel Circle, 930 Lynnmere Drive, and 2629 Velarde Drive in Thousand Oaks; by 11121 Rocky High Road in Santa Rosa Valley; by 11160 Sumac Lane in Camarillo, as well as in Newbury Park on the west and Moorpark in Box Canyon.

The park is a wildlife corridor used by mountain lions.


Wildwood Regional Park is recognized for its varied terrain, wildlife and two waterfalls. The terrain consists of large areas of volcanic rock outcroppings, the year-round Arroyo Conejo creek and its two waterfalls, oak woodlands of Coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) and Valley oak (Quercus lobata) trees, creek-beds lined with California sycamore (Platanus racemosa) trees and cattails, several canyons, steep hills, and relatively flat grasslands.

The climate is Mediterranean, but oftentimes cooler than other areas in the Conejo Valley due to cool coastal breeze easily winding its way up through canyons and lower elevations.[14]

The park's flora is extensive and more than 250 plant species have been recorded within the park. Habitats include: southern oak woodlands, riparian woodland, chaparral and coastal sage scrub, California grassland, and freshwater marsh.


The Western pond turtle, a native species in Arroyo Conejo creek.

The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife and is a wildlife corridor connecting the Santa Monica Mountains to the Santa Susana Mountains and other western Transverse Ranges. Its fauna includes 60 species of birds, 37 species of mammals, and 22 species of amphibians and reptiles.[15]

It is home to various mammals, such as the plentiful mule deer, coyote, and bobcat; and occasionally for mountain lions and ring-tailed cats. Smaller mammal species include the grey fox, striped skunk and spotted skunk, California raccoon, Virginia opossum, Audubon's cottontail, long-tailed weasel, Botta's pocket gopher, California vole, western brush rabbit, and western gray squirrel.

The most common amphibians here are found along the Arroyo Conejo creekbed, and include the ensatina, slender salamander, western toad, American bullfrog, California toad, Pacific tree frog, and the California red-legged frog.

There are a variety of reptiles − including side-blotched lizards, southern alligator lizards and western fence lizards; the native western pond turtle and introduced/invasive crawdads; and numerous species of snakes, including southern Pacific rattlesnakes, San Diego gopher snakes, striped racers, California kingsnakes, common kingsnakes, ringneck snakes, and western aquatic garter snakes.

There are a variety of songbirds, wood-peckers, and raptors such as red-tail hawks, Cooper's hawks, owls, ravens, and falcons.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Murphy, Kelly (2012). Local Multi-Use Trails. Multi-Use Trails. Page 204. ISBN 9781479165599.
  2. ^ Palmer, Norma E. (1994). Santa Barbara & Ventura Counties. Automobile Club of Southern California. Page 176. ISBN 9781564131867.
  3. ^ Maxwell, Thomas J. (1982). The Temescals of Arroyo Conejo. California Lutheran College. Page 93.
  4. ^ McKinney, John (2013). HIKE Ventura County. The Trailmaster, Inc. Page 85. ISBN 9780934161534.
  5. ^ http://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/things-to-do/hiking-trails-in-la-the-best-hikes-with-waterfalls
  6. ^ Schad, Jerry (2009). Los Angeles County: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide. Wilderness Press. Pages 35-36. ISBN 9780899976396.
  7. ^ Randall, Laura (2009). 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Los Angeles: Including San Bernardino, Pasadena, and Oxnard. Menasha Ridge Press. Page 60. ISBN 9780897327077.
  8. ^ Stienstra, Tom (2012). California Hiking: The Complete Guide to 1,000 of the Best Hikes in the Golden State (Moon Outdoors). Avalon Travel Publishing. Page 711. ISBN 9781612381633.
  9. ^ Stone, Robert (2011). Day Hikes Around Ventura County. Day Hike Books. Pages 206-219. ISBN 9781573420624.
  10. ^ Stone, Robert (1998). Day Hikes in Ventura County, California: 43 of the Best. Day Hike Books, Inc. Page 32. ISBN 9781573420198.
  11. ^ Stone, Robert (2011). Day Hikes Around Ventura County. Day Hike Books. Page 211. ISBN 9781573420624.
  12. ^ Schad, Jerry (2005). 101 Hikes in Southern California. Wilderness Press. Pages 19-20. ISBN 9780899973517.
  13. ^ Peterson, Susan (2003). Fun and Educational Places to Go with Kids and Adults in Southern California. Fun Places Publishing. Page 539. ISBN 9780964673779.
  14. ^ Murphy, Kelly (2012). Local Multi-Use Trails. Multi-Use Trails. Page 204. ISBN 9781479165599.
  15. ^ Riedel, Del Monique and Allen (2011). Best Hikes Near Los Angeles. Rowman & Littlefield. Pages 3-4. ISBN 9780762768189.
  16. ^ Schad, Jerry (2010). Top Trails: Los Angeles: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone. Wilderness Press. Page 112. ISBN 9780899976273.

External links[edit]