Wildwood Park is a wonderful wilderness retreat in Thousand Oaks with several popular hiking trails. The Lower Butte Loop of the Santa Rosa Trail is particularly appreciated for its relative solitude and great views. It follows a ridge of volcanic rock and offers panoramic vistas of the Santa Rosa and Conejo Valleys, as well as of the Santa Susana, Topatopa, and Santa Monica Mountains. Big skies and desert flora like prickly pear and chalk lettuce dominate up here. In the spring, there are sprays of bright yellow wildflowers. On cooler days, you might hike through mist and enjoy views of fog rolling across the valleys below.
To enjoy this round-trip hike, follow the Mesa Trail west from the parking lot, then turn right on the Santa Rosa Trail, proceeding along the volcanic ridge. Continue east to the Lower Butte Trail to Wildwood Avenue and follow the sidewalk for a short distance to get to the connector trail back to the Santa Rosa Trail and the parking lot. Note that the official Wildwood Park website has a map of this route and a detailed route description with pictures.
You can complete this hike in a morning or an afternoon, but it's not a bad idea to plan to spend an entire day in this dog-friendly oasis. The diversity of landscapes within Wildwood Park is incredible, including chaparral, oak groves, and lush riparian environments. It's easy to "add on" the Paradise Falls hike, which you can do via either an out-and-back trail or a loop, each of which are close to a total of 2.5 miles with minimal elevation gain. It's a popular hike that starts from the same trailhead as the Lower Butte Loop and offers very different sights, especially as you enter the shady canyons closer to the waterfall. Here, oaks and riparian grasses dominate.
Even if you only stick to one hike, you can easily fill a day enjoying the Lower Butte Loop at a leisurely place. There are many amenities in Wildwood Park, including bathrooms and picnic tables, and it's a great place to bring lunch and a book. Treat yourself and your dog to a beautiful day in nature—you deserve it!