The entrance to the park is clearly marked with a sign on Encinal Canyon Rd. Drive on Carmichael Rd until you see the parking on your right. Get an envelope from the stand (photo below), fill out your vehicle information, then put the money ($4/car) in the envelope and insert it in the slot. Now you are ready to explore the park.
After using the restroom (toilet w/ flush) located near the 2nd parking lot, we began our hike. Carmichael Trail was wide enough for two people to walk side and side comfortably.
We passed a large picnic area on the left with a bunch of tables. Xena was wearing her Ruffwear Swamp Cooler vest already at 7:30 am. It was July after all.
Overall, the trails in Charmlee Wilderness Park are well maintained but not all well marked. But don’t worry. Your cell phone will have signals if you want to check Google Maps. Here is my route. As you can see, there are different ways to do this hike in a loop.
I did this loop clockwise. From Carmichael Trail, I turned left on to Russell Trail then another left at Potreo Trail. At this junction, I took this photo. Check out the marine layer fast approaching!
It got foggy really quick and I loved it! I couldn’t see where I was going but I didn’t care. The trail was pretty much flat so it wasn’t like we were going to fall off a cliff or anything.
On Potreo Trail (it’s the long straight line from my route), we found numerous interesting rock formations.
One thing that stood out to me was how much the birds were active in the park. If you love bird watching, this might be a good place to check out.
Then I saw a sign for the Reservoir so we went to check it out but there was no water.
After that, we followed a sign for Clyde Canyon. Yes, we aimlessly just wandered that morning and enjoyed the nature. More cool rock formations!
We stayed on the rocks for a while and watched the birds. The marine layer covered the park like a soft blanket. When Xena got antsy, we got down from the rocks and continued on. Soon, the scenery changed to an open field.
Then the scenery changed again.
I think no matter how you decide to do the loop, it will be around 3 miles. I found Charmlee Wilderness Park charming. It’s small but there is a lot to experience in the park. It’s definitely a family-friendly hike as well. Pack your lunch and enjoy your lunch at the picnic area after a little hike.
Good to Know:
- Hike Date: 7.10.16
- Distance: 3.1 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 389 ft
- Difficulty Level: Easy
- Restroom available at the trailhead
- Parking: $4/vehicle, make sure to bring cash and a pen
- Trailhead: 34.059108,-118.879238 (copy/paste to your GPS app)