Wildwood Park has many trails that can lead you to Paradise Falls. This collection of trails will lead you on a longer tour of the area. It takes you up to Lizard Rock for the views, then down Lizard Rock Trail
to the water treatment plant, along the creek on Wildwood Canyon Trail
and up to meet the falls. After the falls, enjoy Indian Cave Trail
and Moonridge Trail
as they take you back to the entrance.
All creek crossings have wood plank bridges or easy to crossing rocks. Hiking poles would be useful if you need help with balance.
There are many trails in Wildwood Park, and most will lead you to Paradise Falls. I chose this collection to highlight because it is a nice way to include several aspects of the park into one simple hike - views, terrain, flora, falls and a Teepee!
Start your journey on the Mesa Trail
from the main entrance. This long, mostly straight, trail is the one that will take you most of the way. Along the way, you'll have views on the right of the ridge that separates this area from Santa Rosa. There are many trails that will take you into those hills and you'll spot many bikers and runners on them.
As you continue, at about 0.8 miles into the hike, you'll come to a split in the roads, take a left. This will lead you over to Lizard Rock, keep going until you get to the most prominent rock on the hill. You can climb it and sit and take a break while you enjoy the views.
From there, continue south on the top of the ridge to get to Lizard Rock Trail
, which takes you down to Wildwood Canyon Trail
. This trail changes to singletrack as you descend towards the water treatment plant. There are usually no odors along this part of the trail.
Once you pass the plant, you'll be hiking along a creek on Wildwood Canyon Trail
. At this point, you'll need to be very cautious of the Poison Oak that flourishes along the creek. You'll find it along the right side, and in some places, right up to the trail. You'll be fine as long as you stay on the trail and do not touch any plants or trees.
You'll pass along a campsite on the right. You can take a quick break there if you want, but I usually just pass it since you have to cross a part of the creek to get there. It is very secluded and doesn't usually see many people.
Next, you'll come into a campground. This is a good spot to take a break and use the restroom facilities that are towards the high side of the campground. There are tables and fire pits.
From here, take the wood plank bridge over the creek to continue your hike along the creek. Keep along the creek as there is a split in the road. At the end of the canyon, you'll come up to Paradise Falls. This is a perennial fall that has a very nice stadium-like atmosphere. You can hop over rocks to get to the other side of the creek (watch out for that Poison Oak again), and then walk to the left and climb some rocks for a nice place to have lunch as you look for turtles in the pond and enjoy the sound of the falls!
Once you are finished enjoying the falls, take the steps up to the trail and head right (to the left will take you to the famous Teepee Trail). This is a singletrack trail. If you would rather take a shorter route, you can head up the Teepee Trail where you can enjoy a nice water break (there is a water fountain here) as well as the shade provided by the teepee to cool down after the tough climb. It is a steeper climb through to get to it, so take plenty of breaks.
Take Indian Cave Trail
up the hill. You'll pass Indian Cave on the left and you can easily take a short detour if you'd like to see it. Across the connector is Moonridge Trail
, then a short hike back to the entrance through some pretty flat terrain. Great hike for a quick local getaway!
This hike begins on a flat plain, climbs up through chaparral, then moves down into the creek area where water-loving plants thrive. A lot of Poison Oak!!! Be very careful.