Past Meetup

Paradise Falls - Moonridge - Easy Intermediate

Hosted by CHAT (Conscious Hikers and Thinkers)

Public group

This Meetup is past

16 people went


This hike is cross-posted with OSS (Outdoor Singles & Socials) meetup.

A hike to Paradise Falls is one of the most popular things to do for those visiting Simi Valley, yet a lot of people that live nearby rarely make this fun hike or perhaps have never done it. There are several paths one can take to the falls.

This one is often described as "easy" but I rate it intermediate (see link: How hard is this hike ( because there are a few extended inclines of 1000 steps and there are several hills of about 100 steps that are somewhat steep. There are also a couple "stair cases" made of railroad ties that are up to 4 stories. Same for the return.

Beginners will still have no problem completing this hike, but they may be cursing some of the inclines and will not be zooming along on the steps or inclines at high speed. There is nothing wrong with taking it slow because this is a social hike, not a conditioning hike. We'll be waiting for folks to catch up at the major junctions, and I'll be putting down white arrows so that nobody gets lost if they fall way behind.

The waterfall is flowing fully even during our drought conditions. It is fed by urban run-off (surface water waste created by urbanization). It feeds into a small pond, where I see people swimming and diving all the time, even though this water is not safe or legal for either due to health risks and debris hidden below the surface.

This is the Moonridge Loop route, borrowed from Mark T.

We'll be starting from the tennis court parking lot 4 blocks east of the trail head parking lot and across the road.

We'll cross to the park side of the road and turn right (west) for 1 block, where we'll see an entrance to the Moonridge trail that runs parallel to the road. We'll enter and make a right, following it around past the first set of junctions, continuing for about 1/4 mile, and then follow it around to the left instead of taking the stem to the right.

This will take has past the steps to the trail head parking lot and continue along the Moonridge trail. We'll follow it around for another 1/2 mile and make a left at the North Teepee trail for about 500' to a large Teepee. We can take a few pictures, there's a drinking fountain, and we can rest a moment. Then we'll continue down to the waterfall and hang out for a short while.

We'll return a different way, heading partly back up and across the back side of the waterfall along Wildwood Canyon trail. After about another 100 yards, we'll come to couple picnic tables on the right where we'll share snacks and beverages (

Returning Early
For those that wish to head back instead of hanging around for the snack share, you are responsible for finding your own way back. You can either follow the posted route and map, or take this alternate route: left at the next junction, up 200 yds. back to the Teepee, turn right and continue 1/2 mile until it dead-ends, then turn right again. After 1/2 mile, you will reach the trail head parking lot. Turn right at the road for 4 block and cross the street to find the tennis court parking lot.

Continuing with the group
We'll continue for 1/3 mile along the Wildwood Canyon trail, where we'll find a junction to the left to head to the Indian Cave, about 50 yards up the trail. We'll only visit the cave for a few minutes for those that wish to enter it and come out the side. Note: You should have both hands free and the footing is a bit difficult coming out of the cave, so do so at your own risk.

After heading back to the junction, we'll make a left onto a bridge, then another left onto the Indian Creek trail, and continue for 1 mile back to the parking lot.

If you are not following the leader, you should know:
• After crossing the first creek via stepping stones, you will come to a second creek. We'll be taking a sharp turn to the left a few feet before the second creek. It's easy to miss.
• After another 0.2 miles, another junction and a right turn. Travel parallel to the road for about 350' and there will be a steep trail on the left of about 15 steps, back to the road.
• Right at the road for 1 block, then cross back to the tennis court lot.

Interesting Notes:

You will see several entities of note:

Prickly Pear Cactus

Inside and fruit are edible. Remove needles and scrape to remove hairs, cut top off, hollow out to make water container. Burn or scrape off needles - even stones can be used if you don't have a knife. Fruit peels easily. Eat seeds and all. Use duct tape to remove thorns from hands.

Crystalline tube gall

This is gall of the Crystalline Gall Wasp. This was seen on the Scrub Oak, along the left edge of the trail as one turns onto the Indian Creek Trail after visiting the cave and crossing the bridge on the return. They almost look like flowers, but they are hard and crystalline like clumps of sugar.

Plant galls are tumor like swellings initiated mostly by insects. Some insects have evolved the ability to induce galls in specific host plants, thus co-opting the plants’ resources. A shell of plant tissue forms around each egg soon after it is deposited, and the gall begins to grow around the shell after the hungry larvae hatch and begin feeding. Through their chewing, the wasp larvae release complex compounds that redirect the growth of different plant tissues to form the protective outer structures of the gall, its larval chamber, and its inner nutritive lining.

Galls are used commercially in the preparation of gallic acid and tannic acid, and are extensively employed in tanning and dyeing, in the manufacture of ink, etc. Medicinally, they are a powerful astringent, the most powerful of all vegetable astringents, used as a tincture internally, in cases of dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, and as an injection in gonorrhea, leucorrhoea, etc.

Preparations of gall are usually applied as a local astringent externally, mainly in Gall ointment ( 1 OZ. powdered galls and 4 OZ. benzoated lard), applied to painful hemorrhoids, and also to arrest hemorrhage from the nose and gums. An infusion may be used also as a gargle in relaxed throat, inflamed tonsils, etc.


Wildwood Park
635 W Avenida De Los Arboles
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

From the 118:

CA-118 west to CA-23.
Continue south on CA-23 to exit 15 for 4.8 miles, Avenida de los Arboles
Turn right (east) on Avenida de los Arboles for 3.3 miles until it ends.
Trail head on the left.
Turn right (east) on Avenida de los Arboles for 3.3 miles until 4 blocks before it ends. There will be tennis courts on the right with a parking lot.

From CA-23:

CA-23 to exit 15, Avenida de los Arboles
East on Avenida de los Arboles for 3.3 miles until it ends.
Trail head on the left.
Turn right (east) on Avenida de los Arboles for 3.3 miles until 4 blocks before it ends. There will be tennis courts on the right with a parking lot.

The Hike:
Distance: 3.3 miles, 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 800'
Pace: 2.0 mph
Dogs: Yes.
Restrooms: Yes - at the start.
Drinking Fountains: Yes.
Parking: Free. If the lot is full, park on the street.
Trail: Double and single track, fire road.
Known Dangers: Rattlesnakes, slip-'n-fall.

Hi Resolution Link (

What to Bring:
1-2 liters of water.
Snacks and/or beverages to share.
Hiking shoes preferred, but athletic shoes will be OK.
Flashlight or headlamp for evening hikes.
Repellent - lots of gnats this year (2017) in Wildwood.

Disclaimer / Release of Liability:

Do NOT leave anything of value in your car, at this or any other trailhead.

The hike host is a volunteer and not responsible for the group. Safety should be a priority for everyone in the group. Please treat this meet-up as hiking with a group of friends. If you become fatigued and unable to continue the hike, it is expected you will advise the hike host of this and return to our starting point on your own. If you are able to proceed, it is expected that you will maintain line of sight with other members of the group at all times and help to promote the group’s safety and fitness goals.

Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Hike to Health Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions.

Hike to Health Meetup Group, its organizers, and sponsors from all liability in case of possible injuries. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience. You agree that you can navigate back to your transportation by yourself, and agree to do so if you fall behind and lose track of the main body of hikers.

There are no "Plus One's" on this hike. If you want to bring someone along, have them sign up, and make sure they're aware of, and agree to, this disclaimer.

All participants must be 18 or older, or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.