I discovered another great, secluded hiking area in the inland area – Wildwood Canyon State Park – tucked away off Wildwood Canyon Road in Yucaipa, California. In another example of the importance of land conservation, the Yucaipa Valley Conservancy was pivotal in preserving the park, previously two historic ranches that were destined for subdivisions.
Photos can speak better than words, but here’s what struck me about the place:
- Tranquility: I had the place to myself on two different weekdays in January and February.
- Numerous uses: There were definite signs of equestrian and mountain bike use on the numerous trails that crisscross the area – offering flat terrain as well as meandering hikes up and down hillsides
- Rich wildlife: The sage scrub, grasslands and oak woodland plant communities provide great habitat for numerous critters. We watched bluebirds, acorn woodpeckers, soaring red-tailed hawks and numerous others we couldn’t identify. According to the conservancy, mule deer, bear, coyote, bobcat, grey fox, horned owls, quail and kites are a few of the over 400 species of mammals and birds that reside in the area. Click here for a springtime hike I did to Hunt’s Ranch.
- Undeveloped Character: Because of the state budget situation, the park has had little funding, but that adds to its wild feeling. Click here to see a trail map – there were maps available at a makeshift kiosk at the parking lot.
Basically, take Oak Glen Road off Hwy 10 and turn right onto Calimesa Blvd, which is a frontage road along the highway. At the stop sign, turn left onto Wildwood Canyon Road. Continue 4 miles to Canyon Road (there’s a park sign on the road). Turn left and go a couple hundred yards on the dirt road to a designated parking area on your right. The trails begin when you enter the park, with most signed neared the entrance, but beware of offshoots that can take you different directions.
The McCullough Loop trail is a good starter trail, and takes you by one of the old ranch homes. Water Canyon Trail takes you to the decaying Hunt Ranch that’s set in such beautiful surroundings.
For more info:
Here’s a YouTube of a mountain bike trek that shows you the terrain (to Led Zeppelin music no less…)
Supporters of Wildwood Canyon State Park website
Now at 900 acres, the Yucaipa Valley Conservancy hopes to expand that to 3500 acres. Click here for a list of a recognized land trusts, (I was on the board of a land trust and they have a vital function – please consider supporting one.)