Past Meetup

Paradise Falls - Moonridge - Easy Intermediate

Hosted by The PM Hikers

Public group

This Meetup is past

28 people went

Location image of event venue


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.

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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.

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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.

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This is the Moonridge Loop route, borrowed from Mark T. We'll be starting from the southeast corner of the parking lot, heading down the stairs, and then making a right. We'll continue along this mostly single-track route for 0.6 miles until we cross the public access road.

After 50 ft., we'll take a sharp right 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.

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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 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 years 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 just before the second creek. It's easy to miss.
• After another 0.2 miles, another junction and a left turn almost 180' or you will end up at the road.
• After another 0.2 miles, left again at the junction and then right at the staircase back to the parking 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 off needles. Fruit peels easily. Eat seeds and all. Use duct tape to remove thorns from hands.

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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.

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Wildwood Park
998 W. Avenida de los Arboles
Thousand Oaks, CA[masked], [masked]

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.
Parking is free. If the lot is full, park on the street.
We'll be meeting at the southeast corner.

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.
Parking is free. If the lot is full, park on the street.
We'll be meeting at the southeast corner.

The Hike:
Distance: 3.3 miles, 2 1/2 hours
Elevation Gain: 800'
Pace: 2.0 mph
Dogs: Yes.
Restrooms: No.
Drinking Fountains: Yes.
Parking: Free. If the lot is full, park on the street.
Trail: Double and single track, fire road.
Known Dangers: Rattlesnakes (they are definitely active now), slip-'n-fall

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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.

Disclaimer / Release of Liability:
You must RSVP to attend this event, no exceptions. Hiking and other outdoor events are inherently dangerous and accidents can happen. By participating in any posted event, you're taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. This 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. You are responsible for you. If you choose to sign up for any events, you are releasing the Group and its organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience. This applies to any guests you may invite.