For a steep hike in a favorite preserve — and a wonderful example of California native plants and the wildlife they attract – check out the Chaparral Vistas to Preservation Point Trail in Oak Glen Preserve (Oak Glen CA). If you have extra time, the preserve has other fun and easier trails for families, ponds, a botanic garden, and the best educational signs I’ve ever seen.
Highlights of this hike:
- A workout with wonderful views – it’s steep (3 miles roundtrip, with about 400 feet in elevation) — but satisfying with great views the whole way. Even going part-way is worth it.
- Great example of chaparral, and how plants come back after a fire several years ago. (See photo gallery.)
- How native plants can provide gorgeous color in non-spring times – the photos below illustrate the rich fall colors provided by the rusty chamise and buckwheat, contrasting with bright green manzanita.
- Wildlife – I’ve seen a variety of birds, a horny toad, and great examples of the beneficial insects California native plants attract, while a fellow hiker in front of me came across a small rattlesnake.
How to get there: The address for Oak Glen Preserve is 39611 Oak Glen Road. To best access this hidden trail, drive to the far parking area by going through the Oak Glen Preserve parking area. The short road goes past the Wildlands Conservancy buildings and staff parking. After parking, you walk through a picnic area and a beautiful mature forest, and then down a path that runs parallel to Oak Glen Road. Right before the Preservation Point trail sign, there are more picnic areas. See photos below.
For more info:
And here’s a map of the whole preserve, with the trail noted (See Chaparral Vistas on lower left)
Do stop at the Los Rio Rancho historic apple orchard operation before or after for a piece of pie or some local apples.
Click here for another article about Oak Glen Preserve, which is beautiful year-round.
More about our important chaparral from the California Chaparral Institute established by a friend of ours.