Fun By the Dozen in OC: Take a Hike
Check Out these 12 hikes in Orange County that take you to new heights.
Orange County might not be known for its wide open spaces, but don’t be fooled; we are much more than a concrete jungle. By the numbers, Orange County has more than 32,000 acres of urban wilderness parks.
If you’d like to venture off OC’s paved path, take a hike and discover places like Modjeska Canyon in Silverado Canyon. This bit of country in the middle of Orange County is a hidden oasis where it is not unusual to find a majestic oak tree growing in the middle of the road. There are no perfect, cookie-cutter homes here, just the real OC where nature rules. These regions are an ideal place to explore on foot and take in a mild stroll or rugged hike along side the Santa Ana Mountains and discover the picturesque vistas that reveal breathtaking city views.
A few more of my favorite hiking locations include:
- Laguna Coast Wilderness Park with its wide-open beach views
- Peter’s Canyon in Orange is very accessible, yet still gives you a great workout
- Oak Canyon Nature Center is a 58-acre nature park nestled in the hills of Anaheim and is a great place for families to explore an oak woodland
Want more hikes? Mild to wild hiking trails are woven all throughout OC. Here are a few additional OC parks with hiking trails:
- Carbon Canyon Regional Park
- Caspers Wilderness Park
- Irvine Ranch Open Space
- Irvine Regional Park
- Limestone/Whiting Ranch Parks
- O'Neill Regional Park
- Santiago Oaks Regional Park
- Upper Newport Bay
A few tips:
With a little advance planning, you take a naturalist-led tour highlighting seasonal wildflowers or indigenous plants. There are also special hikes geared just for children or romantic, moonlight hikes. OC Wildlife and Beach Tour has a wonderful eco-tour that will take you to some beautiful places in OC with minimal walking.
Do your homework. I’ve been reading a new book about getting out in OC, entitled “Active in Orange County” and it’s helped me discover some new spots I can’t wait to try out. It outlines hikes, parks and seldom-discovered OC scenic spots.
Go shopping. Active lifestyle stores like REI have periodic classes on hiking and exploring Orange County’s outdoors. They give pointers of what to bring on a hike ensure maximum fun and safely too.
So what are you waiting for? Strap on some rugged hiking shoes and discover Orange County’s biggest playground- one that has nothing to do with manmade fun.