Wildwood Canyon

Park Brochure

brochure Wildwood Canyon - Park Brochure
Our Mission Wildwood Canyon The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna, Wildwood Canyon preserves ancient oak woodlands, native sites, and pioneer California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (951) 940-5600. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov Wildwood Canyon 12241 Canyon Drive Yucaipa, CA 92399 (951) 940-5600 © 2010 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) homesteads. A Photo courtesy of Theron Trowbridge bove the hills of Yucaipa, Wildwood Canyon offers panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. This park property in the eastern foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains features broad grasslands and canopies of centuries-old interior live oak. The property’s box canyon is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and native plants, some of them rare and endangered. PARK HISTORY Native People The area near Yucaipa was known as a crossroads for traveling indigenous people. The Cahuilla were traditionally active in the area of Wildwood Canyon, as were the Serrano and Gabrieleno native people. Early Pioneers The first recorded landowner was mountain man James Waters, who started a hog ranch on the fringe of the current park property in the 1850s. The area was called “Hog Cañon” (the Spanish word for canyon) until the 1920s. Later settlers included rancher Louis Morris and the Brooks family, who staked mining claims in the area. The Wildwood Lodge resort was built in the 1920s; investors planned to sell more than 500 lots in a country-club development. Few lots were sold, and the property was foreclosed in 1928. Property tax defaults led to the sale of the development to Vernon Hunt, who bought up area ranches and the former Wildwood Lodge in 1940 to build Hunt Ranch. Hi Up House was owned by the McCullough family. During the Great Depression in 1932, Charles McCullough lost his Pasadena apple farm to foreclosure. He borrowed $500 to purchase 88 acres in Yucaipa and brought his family to live off the land — digging wells and water tunnels to irrigate their gardens and orchards, and raising rabbits and bees. The McCulloughs lived in a converted chicken coop for 13 years while they built a new home, using recycled and found materials. Some remnants of Hunt Ranch and the Hi Up House buildings are still on the property. Preserving the Land After a flood threatened developers’ plans to build subdivisions, California State Parks Hunt Ranch today (supported by local conservationists) acquired Wildwood Canyon’s 900 acres. On May 9, 2003, a dedication ceremony was held at Wildwood Canyon. NATURAL HISTORY Wildwood Canyon lies between the San Andreas Fault on the north and the San Jacinto Fault to the south. Igneous and sedimentary rocks, transformed by the intense heat and pressure of tectonic activity, form the ancient metamorphic rocks surrounding the canyon. Wildlife Wildwood Canyon hosts diverse wildlife. Birds commonly seen include the California quail, western meadowlark, towhee, phainopepla, redtailed hawk, Bewick’s Red-tailed wren, Bullock’s oriole, hawk and white-tailed kite. Other bird species found in Wildwood Canyon include the Cooper’s hawk, sharpshinned hawk, and rufous-crowned sparrow. The San Diego pocket mouse found at Wildwood is a mammal species of special concern—its population is declining due to habitat loss or breeding problems. Visitors may also see the deer mouse, cactus deer mouse, California vole, and dusky-footed wood rat. Mule deer and desert cottontail share Wildwood Canyon with bobcats, black bears, gray foxes, and skunks. Cougars use the canyon as a travel corridor. Reptiles found in the park include several types of lizards, the coastal western whiptail, western skink, and California whipsnake. The red-diamond rattlesnake is a reptile species of special concern. Plant Life The dominant plant community is Riversidian sage scrub, with valley grasslands present in most open areas. Interior live oaks and sycamore woodlands grow along drainages and canyon bottoms. The oaks appear to be 150 to 250 years old; in some canyons the branches have interlaced so thickly that they form a welcome shade canopy. Dominant plants found among the chamise chaparral are scrub oak, California lilacs, sage varieties, buckwheat, monkey flower, Lord’s candle, and Interior live oak (Quercus wislizenii) silk tassel bush. Climate The park’s Mediterranean climate is typical of inland southern California. Dry summers range from warm to very hot (over 100 degrees); winters are more temperate but wet. Spring and fall are mild and moderate. Average annual rainfall is 14 inches; the area may experience strong, dry Santa Ana winds, usually in late fall and early winter. RECREATION Currently Wildwood Canyon is open only for day use from sunrise to sunset. The primary activities are horseback riding, hiking, and biking. A horse staging area is located near the entrance. The Hunt Ranch corrals are also available for equestrian use, but there is no vehicle access to these corrals. Picnic tables and portable restrooms near the entrance are the only visitor facilities. Special events and activities are held occasionally. See www.parks.ca.gov for an event schedule. TRAIL APPROX. MILEAGE Central Ridge Trail .75 mi Cottonwood Trail .5 mi McCullough Loop 1 mi North Valley Trail .75 mi Oak Tree Loop 1 mi Stable Ridge Trail .5 mi Stetson Trail 1 mi Water Canyon Trail Distance between Park Entrance and Locked Gate 1.25 mi .25 mi ACCESSIBLE FEATURES At this time, no accessible features are available. Accessibility is continually being improved. For updates, visit the website at http://access.parks.ca.gov. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Lake Perris SRA, 17801 Lake Perris Drive Perris 92571 (951) 940-5600 • Mount San Jacinto SP & Wilderness 25905 Highway 243, Idyllwild 92549 (951) 659-2607 • Silverwood Lake SRA, 14651 Cedar Circle Hesperia 92345 (760) 389-2303 PLEASE REMEMBER • Dogs are permitted on all trails but must be on a six-foot-maximum leash and under human control at all times. • No motorized vehicles (including OHVs and motorcycles) are permitted on park roads and trails beyond the locked gate. • Stay on designated trails to protect vegetation and wildlife. Do not hike alone or interact with wildlife. • Poison oak can trigger a severe rash. Stay in designated areas to avoid the plant. • All natural, cultural, and historic features are protected by law and may not be disturbed, Poison oak collected, or removed. • Because fire danger is high, smoking and open flames are prohibited. • Please pack out all trash and recyclables. • All weapons and their use are prohibited. 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