Your County Government Community
Kids & Families
Environment Public Safety Jobs

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation Home
About Us
On-line Services and Reservations
Interactive County Parks Map
Parks and Attractions
Community, Recreation, and Teen Centers
Programs and Activities
Development Projects
Public Review Documents
News and Events
Management Plans
Contact Us
Going Green
Corporate Partnership Programs
Site Directory

Wilderness Gardens Preserve

Printer Friendly
Font Size Extra Large Font Size Large Font Size Default

14209 Hwy 76
Pala, CA  92059
ThomBros: 409-E6
Phone number: 760-742-1631

Directions: From Interstate 15 take Highway 76 east for 9.5 miles. Wilderness Gardens Preserve will be on the right hand side of the highway.

For the most up to date information on park closures, weather updates, and water usage please visit our News Page

**Potable water is not available at the preserve.  Please bring plenty of drinking water.

8:00 am - 4:00 pmFriday - Monday.  
Closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

*Closed during August due to high temperatures

Location Map (find park name in the left column)

In the event of significant rain fall or an ongoing storm, Wilderness Gardens Preserve will not open due to swift water in the San Luis Rey River and inaccessible trails.  For up to date information call the preserve office at (760) 742-1631.


  • Staging area
  •  Portable restrooms
  • Pond
  • Historic grist mill foundation
  •  737 acres

Acquired in 1973, Wilderness Gardens Preserve is the oldest County Parks and Recreation open space preserve. Located in the picturesque San Luis Rey River watershed, the preserve offers over 4 miles of easy to moderate hiking trails and is known as a birdwatcher's paradise. The preserve staging area provides picnic tables, portable restrooms and quick access to the trail system. The main trail is the most popular trail and provides access into the preserve interior. The Alice Fries trail is a .5 mile single track trail that meanders near the San Luis Rey River. The Upper Meadow Trail provides a wonderful overview of the preserve and San Luis Rey River corridor.

Wilderness Gardens is also home to the historic Sickler’s Grist Mill site. Listed on the County Historic Resource Board’s list of historic places, the Sicker Grist Mill foundation is a remnant of North San Diego County’s rich agricultural history and testifies to the resilience of those who pioneered the valley. Additional historic accounts and photos of the mill are on display in the park ranger station.

Bring portable water, sturdy shoes and sunscreen as temperatures rise quickly. 

Printable brochure


Click images to enlarge