Wilderness Gardens Main Trail to Pond Loop

Pala, CA
Length: 2.00 mi.
Type: Lollipop

About This Trail

[Total: 2    Average: 3.5/5]

Wilderness Gardens is the first open space preserve of San Diego county. For those interested in history, this place is worth the long drive! You can learn about and visit what remains of the Sickler Brothers Grist Mill as well as some Indigenous history. Like most county parks, you need $3 exact cash to park. The preserve is closed Wednesdays and the month of August due to heat. Leashed, friendly dogs are welcome.

There are a few trails in this preserve, but the Main Trail to Pond Loop is a flat 2 miles round trip and is along a fire road, so it is off road stroller friendly. There are also many porta potties and benches along the trail.

After you turn on Bodie Blvd from Hwy 76, continue down the road until you reach a dead end and the paved road turns into dirt. Park in the dirt area next to the road. You will see a big sign with two trail heads, a single track directly to the left of the sign, and a dirt road further off to the left. Take the dirt fire road, where you will immediately cross a creek bed that may occasionally have some water. From there, you will continue on the fire road, which is mostly exposed with very little shade. About half a mile down you will pass some Indigenous grinding rocks on your left, and a little bit further a thatch hut on your right, which is a great place for kids to explore. Another quarter mile down the trail will split into a “Y.” The right is slightly shorter, but the left takes you past the small museum and Mill. Both meet up with each other right before the pond. From there, you can loop around the pond, which is mostly shaded. There are many benches in the shade to stop for a break and snack. When you are ready, return the way you came.

Share This Trail

Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Stroller friendly Yes
Stroller terrain All Terrain
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Creek / River, Lake, Natural Play Area, Picnic Area, Rockclimbing, Visitor Center, and Wildlife Viewing

Learn some San Diego county history while hiking to a beautiful pond!

Fee & Parking Details

Fee : $3.00

There is a fee of $3 exact cash to park.

Trail Contributor

[Total: 2    Average: 3.5/5]

Hike it Baby member since spring 2016. Current HiB Asheville NC Branch Ambassador. Past HiB San Diego CA and Orange County CA Branch Ambassador, and past National Team volunteer for Community Values, HiB30 Challenge Prizes, Mentor, and Ambassador Continued Education teams.