Wildwood Regional Park is a suburban regional park situated in the western portion of Thousand Oaks, CA, adjacent to Newbury Park and Moorpark with additional park entries in these cities as well. The park consists of 1,765 acres and is connected to open-space areas compromised of an additional 1,400 acres. The park, being located in the Conejo Valley, is operated by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA). During parts of the 20th century, it was an outdoor movie set where various wild west motion pictures were filmed, including television series such as Bonanza, Dodge City, Gunsmoke, the Rifleman, Flaming Star, the Big Valley and Wagon Train, as well as films such as Spartacus, Gunsight Ridge, the Grapes of Wrath, Duel in the Sun and Wuthering Heights.
The park is still occasionally utilized as a filming location for contemporary TV-series and commercials. Wildwood Regional Park is recognized for its varied terrain, wildlife and two waterfalls. The terrain consists of large areas of cactus, volcanic rock outcroppings, the year-round Arroyo Conejo Creek and its two waterfalls, woodland of oak trees, green creek-bed lined with sycamore trees and cattail, several canyons, steep hills, and relatively flat fields of grass. By Lizard Rock, Teepee Overlook, and similar high elevation areas, there are great panoramic views of the Conejo Valley.
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. The park is home to fourteen nature trails covering over 27 miles, and is mostly used for recreational outdoor-activities such as hiking, mountain biking, jogging, horseback-riding, picnicking, educational tours, interpretive programs, camping, rock climbing and wildlife viewing.
Some of the popular attractions in the park includes the seventy-foot cascade, Paradise Falls, as well as the Arroyo Conejo Creek and creek-bed, the large wooden teepee, the Indian Cave, and the Lizard Rock formation. 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.
Wildwood Regional Park was home to the Chumash people for more than 8,000 years before it became a part of Rancho El Conejo during the Spanish colonization in 1803. Sheep and cattle grazed the area for much of the 19th- and early 20th century, but it was used as a movie set for the Hollywood film industry from the 1930’s through the 1960’s. It was created in 1967 when the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) bought the Mount Clef Ridge and Wildwood Canyon from the Janss Corporation. It was merged with Wildwood Mesa 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.
To get here from Los Angeles, drive northbound on the 101 Freeway (Ventura Freeway) and take Exit 45 in Thousand Oaks, CA. Drive on 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. Make a U-turn before parking your vehicle on the right, which is the principal trailhead for Wildwood Regional Park. Besides this main park entrance located at 928 W. Avenida de Los Arboles in Thousand Oaks, there are numerous other trailheads, including by 398 Briar Bluff Ct, 2601 San Miguel Cir, 930 Lynnmere Drive and by 2629 Velarde Drive in Thousand Oaks, 11121 Rocky High Rd in Santa Rosa Valley, 11160 Sumac Ln in Camarillo, as well as trailheads from Newbury Park in the west and Moorpark in the north (Box Canyon).
The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife being connected to various Southern California wildlife corridors. Its fauna includes 60 species of birds, 37 species of mammals, and 22 species of amphibians and reptiles. It is home to mammals such as plentiful of mule deer, coyotes, rabbits and bobcats, and occasionally also mountain lions. Smaller mammal species include the Grey fox, Striped- and Spotted skunk, California raccoon, Virginia opossum, Audubon's cottontail, Long-tailed weasel, Botta's pocket gopher, Ring-tailed cat, California vole, Western Brush Rabbit and Western gray squirrel.
The most common amphibians here are found along the Arroyo Conejo creek-bed, and includes 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, as well as the Western pond turtle and 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. Of the avifauna, there are a variety of songbirds, wood-peckers and raptors such as hawks, owls, ravens, and falcons. Its flora is even more extensive and more than 250 plant species have been recorded within the park, including for instance southern oak woodland, riparian woodland, chaparral, desert scrub and coastal sage scrub, California grassland, and freshwater marsh.