Day Hikes Around Orange County 112 Great Hikes

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-03-01
  • Publisher: Day Hike Books

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Orange County lies along the coast in southern California between Los Angeles and San Diego. The county is framed by the Pacific Ocean on one side while the Santa Ana Mountains stretch along the entire back side of the county. The coast-to-mountain landscape creates an interesting, diverse terrain that offers many opportunities for exploration.

Despite the urban encroachment, nearly 30% of Orange County is preserved as city parklands, wilderness preserves, national forests, and state parks. Along the county’s 44 miles of shoreline reside long stretches of sandy beaches, marine terraces, and promontories. The Cleveland National Forest and the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness cover thousands of acres of forested canyons and plateaus in the Santa Ana Range. This essential guide describes how to get to backcountry trailheads in the Santa Anas, the best trails to hike in the county's expansive parklands, and where to find access points to the coastline. Several inviting urban routes are included as well. Highlights of the hikes include sheltered coves, tidal estuaries, forested canyons, cascades, weathered sandstone peaks, and vista points that offer views from the ocean to the cities.

A range of hikes is included, from easy coastal walks to strenuous hillside climbs. Statistics, accurate directions, and a map for every hike makes these adventures stress free. Dog access information is included, as well as a thorough index.

Companion guides include Day Hikes On the California Southern Coast and Day Hikes Around Los Angeles.

Author Biography

Since 1991, Robert Stone has been writer, photographer, and publisher of Day Hike Books. He is a Los Angeles Times Best Selling Author and an award-winning journalist of the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers, the Outdoor Writers Association of California, the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association, the Bay Area Travel Writers, and the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Robert resides summers in Red Lodge, Montana, and winters near Morro Bay, California.

Table of Contents


Chino Hills • Brea • Yorba Linda

Chino Hills State Park (Hikes 1–12)
Carbon Canyon Park Entrance
1?. Carbon Canyon Regional Park
2. Gilman Peak from North Ridge
3. Gilman Peak Loop: North Ridge–Telegraph Canyon Trails
Rimcrest Park Entrance
4. South Ridge–Telegraph Canyon Loop (west end)
5. San Juan Hill from Rimcrest Drive
Bane Canyon Park Entrance
6. Upper Aliso Canyon
7. Upper Aliso Canyon–Raptor Ridge
8. Hills For Everyone–Four Corners–Telegraph Canyon Loop
9. San Juan Hill from Rolling M Ranch: South Ridge–Telegraph Canyon Loop (east end)
10. Water Canyon
11. Scully Ridge–Lower Aliso Canyon
12. McLean Overlook

Anaheim • Anaheim Hills • Orange • Tustin

Anaheim Hills • Orange • North Tustin (Hikes 13–24)
13. Yorba Regional Park
14. Oak Canyon Nature Center
Santiago Oaks • Irvine Regional Parks (Hikes 15–22)
15. Santiago Creek Loop: Santiago Oaks Regional Park
16. Windes–Pacifica Loops to Rattlesnake Ridge?: Santiago Oaks Regional Park
17. Robber's Peak from Santiago Creek: Santiago Oaks Regional Park
18. Robber's Peak Loop: Anaheim Hills Trail–Serrano Avenue?: Santiago Oaks Regional Park
19. Weir Canyon Loop: Weir Canyon Wilderness Park
Irvine Regional Park (Hikes 20–22)
20. Puma Ridge–Horseshoe Loop: Irvine Regional Park
21. Santiago Creek–Horseshoe Loop: Irvine Regional Park
22. Roadrunner Loop: Irvine Regional Park
23. Peters Canyon Reservoir: Peters Canyon Regional Park
24. Peters Canyon–East Ridge Loop: Peters Canyon Regional Park

Lake Forest • Foothill Ranch • Mission Viejo
Rancho Santa Margarita • Coto de Caza

Highway 241 (Hikes 21–31)
Limestone Canyon • Whiting Ranch (Hikes 25–27)
25. Borrego Canyon to Vista Lookout?: Limestone Canyon–Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park
26. Borrego Canyon–Red Rock Canyon: Limestone Canyon–Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park
27. Serrano Canyon Loop to Four Corners: Limestone Canyon–Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park
O'Neill Regional Park (Hikes 28–30)
28. Live Oak Trail to Vista Point: O'Neill Regional Park
29. Edna Spaulding Nature Trail: O'Neill Regional Park
30. Arroyo Trabuco Trail: O'Neill Regional Park
31. Riley Wilderness Park

Santiago Canyon Road
Silverado • Modjeska • Trabuco Canyon

Santiago Canyon Road (Hikes 32–40)
32. Black Star Canyon
33. Silverado Trail to Overlook: Silverado Canyon
34. Silverado Trail to Bedford Peak: Silverado Canyon
35. Harding Road to Santiago Canyon Viewpoint?: Modjeska Canyon
36. Harding Road to Laurel Spring: Modjeska Canyon
37. Santiago Trail to Vulture Crags?: Modjeska Grade–Santiago Canyon
Trabuco Canyon (Hikes 38–40)
38. Holy Jim Falls: Holy Jim Canyon
39. Trabuco Canyon to West Horsethief Trail: Trabuco Canyon
40. Trabuco Canyon–West Horsethief Loop to North Main Divide Road: Trabuco Canyon

Ortega Highway Corridor
to Wildomar • Murrieta • Temecula

Ortega Highway • Lower Santa Ana Mountains (Hikes 41–65)
Caspers Wilderness Park
Caspers Wilderness Park (Hikes 41–48)
Trails of Caspers Wilderness Park
41. Juaneno Trail–San Juan Creek Loop
42. Lower East Ridge Loop
43. Lower Bell Canyon–East Ridge Loop
44. Pinhead Peak
45. Upper Bell Canyon
46. Upper Bell Canyon–East Ridge Loop
47. Bell Canyon–Oak Trail Loop
48. Bell Canyon–West Ridge Loop

Upper Ortega Highway
North Main Divide Road

Upper Ortega Highway (Hikes 49–57)
49. San Juan Loop
50. Lower Chiquito Trail • San Juan Canyon to the Lion Canyon Overlook
North Main Divide Road to trailheads (Hikes 51–54)
51. Upper Chiquito Trail: San Juan Trail to Lion Canyon
52. Upper Lion Canyon–Chiquito Basin Loop
53. Upper Hot Spring Canyon to Hot Spring Falls
54. Los Pinos Peak from North Main Divide Road
55. El Cariso Nature Trail? • El Cariso Fire Station and Visitor Center

San Mateo Canyon Wilderness

San Mateo Canyon Wilderness (Hikes 56–60)
San Mateo Canyon Wilderness and Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve (Hikes 56–65)
56. Bear Canyon–Bear Ridge Loop
57. Morgan Trail–Morrell Canyon: South Main Divide Road to Ortega Highway
58. Tenaja Falls
59. Upper San Mateo Canyon: San Mateo Creek–Fisherman's Camp Loop
60. Tenaja Canyon: Tenaja Trail–Fisherman's Camp Loop

Santa Rosa Plateau
Santa Rosa Plateau (Hikes 61–65)
61. Tovashal Trail–Sylvan Meadows Loop
62. Granite–Vista Grande–Waterline Loop
63. Wiashal Trail to Cole Canyon
64. Coyote Trail–Oak Tree Loop
65. Vernal Pools and Historic Adobes Loop


Palos Verdes Peninsula
Torrance to Long Beach

Palos Verdes Peninsula to Corona Del Mar (Hikes 66–80)
Palos Verdes Peninsula (Hikes 66–70)
66. Point Vicente Fishing Access Trail
67. Abalone Cove and Portuguese Point
68. Portuguese Bend Overlook: Crenshaw Extension Trail from Del Cerro Park
69. South Coast Botanic Garden
70. White Point and Point Fermin Park
71. Long Beach Oceanfront Trail to Belmont Pier: Long Beach City Beach
72. Belmont Pier to Alamitos Peninsula and Bay: Long Beach City Beach
73. El Dorado Nature Center: El Dorado Park

Seal Beach to Newport Bay

Huntington Beach
74. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
75. Huntington Beach • Bluff Top Park? • Bolsa Chica State Beach to Huntington Pier
76. Newport Beach • Balboa Peninsula • Newport Pier to West Jetty View Park
Newport Beach
77. Corona Del Mar State Beac
78. Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve: North Corridor from Interpretive Center
79. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
80. Back Bay Drive?: Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve
South Coast Wilderness Area
Newport Beach to San Clemente (Hikes 81–112)
San Juaquin Hills? • South Coast Wilderness Park (Hikes 81–100)
81. Crystal Cove Oceanfront Bluffs: Crystal Cove State Park
82. West Wall of El Moro Canyon: Crystal Cove State Park
83. El Moro Canyon to Bommer Ridge?: Crystal Cove State Park
84. Emerald Bay Overlook: Crystal Cove State Park
85. El Moro Canyon–Moro Ridge Loop?: Crystal Cove State Park
86. Bommer Ridge–Laguna Ridge Loop from Laguna Canyon?: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
87. Emerald Canyon–Bommer Ridge Loop: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
88. Laurel Canyon–Willow Canyon Loop?: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
89. Barbara's Lake?: James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
90. Laguna Beach Bluffs and Heisler Park: Crescent Bay Point Park to Main Beach
91. Top of the World from Temple Hill: Carolyn Wood View Knoll
92. Lower West Ridge–Wood Canyon–Mathis Canyon Loop: Laguna Coast • Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Parks
93. Upper West Ridge–Upper Wood Canyon Loop: Laguna Coast • Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Parks
94. Aliso Canyon and Wood Canyon?: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
95. Sulphur Creek Reservoir?: Laguna Niguel Regional Park
96. Aliso Summit Trail?: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
97. Aliso Peak from Seaview Park: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
98. Seaview Trail from Badlands Park?: Badlands Park • Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
99. Aliso Peak from South Laguna Ridge Trail?: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
100. Aliso Peak from Valido Trail?: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

Dana Point Headlands to San Mateo Point
Dana Point • San Juan Capistrano • San Clemente

101. Salt Creek Beach Park
102. Salt Creek Trail from Salt Creek Beach Park
103. Dana Point Harbor
104. Blufftops of Dana Harbor?: Ken Sampson Overview Park–Hide Trail
105. Heritage Park
106. Lantern Bay Park
107. Doheny State Beach to Capistrano Beach Park
108. Pines Park
109. Rancho San Clemente Ridgeline Trail
110. San Clemente State Beach to San Mateo Point
111. Trestles Beach at San Mateo Point? • San Onofre State Beach North
112. San Onofre Bluffs: San Onofre State Beach South

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