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Oak Canyon Nature Center – Tranquility Trail, Wren Way, Bluebird Loop

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Vital Stats
Trailhead shop +Yorba+Linda, medic +CA&hl=en&ll=33.908623, help -117.779875&spn=0.00983,0.019205&sll=33.907813,-117.778701&sspn=0.00983,0.019205&vpsrc=0&t=h&z=16″ target=”_blank”>Rimcrest Dr & Blue Gum Dr
Yorba Linda, CA
Length 3.64 Miles
Elevation 387 Feet
Difficulty Moderate


This hike makes a nice, moderately difficult loop within Chino Hills State Park. The hike begins at a trailhead in a Yorba Linda neighborhood at the corner of Rimcrest Drive and Blue Gum Drive. This is a popular trailhead, despite the fact that it is not the official entrance into the park. Until recently, there was a welcome sign at this trailhead, but with the opening of the new visitors center in Brea, it appears as if the California State Parks are trying to encourage people to use the official entrance into the park instead of this side entrance.

[flickr id=”6157839300″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] From the trailhead, there are three possible paths to take. Running left to right is the South Ridge Trail and ahead is the Easy Street Trail. This route follows the South Ridge Trail to the left and returns on the Easy Street Trail. A shorter and less strenuous loop can be found by following South Ridge Trail to the right. This other loop will be mapped in a future post.

South Ridge Trail runs the length of the park East to West. Since it does generally follow the ridge line, the trail is quite undulating. From the trailhead, South Ridge Trail heads uphill for two-tenths of a mile before starting some mild up and downs that are gradually downhill. There are several lookout spots along South Ridge Trail that will allow you easily see Catalina Island on a clear day (however, on a smoggy day like when I hike this route, you can’t even see the Big A.)

[flickr id=”6157301829″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Diemer Trail is a turnoff from South Ridge Trail. Diemer Trail is approximately 1.3 miles from the trailhead. Diemer Trail runs down the hillside between South Ridge Trail and Telegraph Canyon Trail at the base of the canyon through a series of broad switchbacks. As you head down the hill, the vegetation starts to become thicker and the wildlife more apparent.

At the base of the hill you come to Telegraph Canyon Trail, which runs in the canyon between North Ridge Trail and South Ridge Trail. Telegraph Canyon Trail is a wide, well maintained fire road that’s slightly uphill. Along the trail, there are a number of small stream crossings. Normally you can find a dry path along the edge of the trail, where the mountain bikers haven’t dug a rut, but a spare pair of socks would be a good precaution.

[flickr id=”6157321375″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] The turnoff for Easy Street Trail is poorly marked and hard to see. If you don’t know to look for Easy Street, it would be easy to pass right by. Easy Street Trail is a very narrow single-track that is closed to bikes. Starting on this trail, you’ll have to navigate around a fallen tree and over through a slightly larger stream. There are some rocks in the stream, but depending on the amount of runoff when you go, they might be completely submerged. From the stream, you start to head up hill again through a narrow canyon. This is by far the nicest part of the hike.

This hike through Chino Hills State Park makes for a pleasant afternoon outing with the family. It’s not too strenuous and there is enough to see along the way so everyone will enjoy themselves. As with most hiking locations in Orange County, this is nicest in the spring when the hillsides are green. However, this makes a nice hike throughout the year.
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Vital Stats
Trailhead page +anaheim, herbal +ca&hl=en&ll=33.830551, cialis -117.744277&spn=0.009821,0.01929&sll=33.831425,-117.741165&sspn=0.009821,0.01929&vpsrc=0&t=h&z=16″ target=”_blank”>S. Hidden Canyon Rd. &
E. Overlook Terrace
Anaheim, CA
Length 3.55 Miles
Elevation 328 Feet
Difficulty Moderate


The Anaheim Hills Riding and Walking Trail makes a loop throughout the entire Weir Canyon Wilderness Park in Anaheim, California. This route is a moderately difficult hike and a hard trail run, but is considerably easier when done in the reverse direction. The trailhead is located behind an older neighborhood called Hidden Canyon, just off of Serrano Ave. in Anaheim Hills.

[flickr id=”6174454778″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] From the trailhead, you head up a short hill to a “Y” in the trail. This route takes the left hand “Y”, but to do the trail in the reverse direction for an easier hike, simply take the right hand “Y”. From the “Y”, you continue climbing up to the ridge behind Anaheim Hills. There are parts of this climb that are quite steep and sandy, so finding footing can be difficult. At some points, it feels like you’re sliding backwards six inches for every step forward you take.

Once you hit the top of the ridge, the trail flattens out with some slight undulations. The trail skirts part of a neighborhood here, but you’ll quickly move past it and again feel like you’re in nature. From the top of this ridge line, you’ll get great views overlooking Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda to the left, and a giant expanse of wilderness that connects to the wilderness parks of south county to the right.

[flickr id=”6173931935″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] As you move further along the ridge line, you’ll come to another “Y” in the road. Going left, you’ll see a very steep single-track trail going to the top of a little peak. To the right, the main trail continues around the peak and on to the rest of the route. On a clear day, the peak offers superb 360 degree views of the area but you’ll have to backtrack down the single-track to get back to the main trail.

As you come around the peak, you’ll find a third “Y” in the trail. If you head downhill to the right, you’ll be on a trail called Deer Weed Trail, which connects backs down to the lower part of the Anaheim Hills Riding and Walking Trail. If you want a slightly shorter route you can take Deer Weed Trail, but you’ll miss some of the nicer parts of the Anaheim Hills Riding and Walking Trail.

[flickr id=”6173929467″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] The trail continues just down hill from the ridge line until it runs into another subdivision, at which point the trail makes a ninety degree turn to the right and heads fairly steeply downhill. All of that elevation gained at the beginning of the hike is lost in one fell swoop.

At the bottom of the long, strait section of trail, you’ll make another right and start heading back towards the trailhead along this lower section of the trail. The lower half of the loop stays on the hill side, never quite reaching the valley floor below. Eventually, all of the land at the bottom of the hill will be made open to the public, but currently no trails have been established in the area.

[flickr id=”6173939535″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] The lower part of the loop follows the contours of the hill side, undulating slightly. At one point, there is a small stream crossing that’s more mud than running water and is easy to hop across.

With the exception of where Deer Weed Trail rejoins the main route, there are no more “Y”s until you’re nearly back to the trailhead. Just as you’re cresting the final little hill, just before when you turned off for the first “Y”, there will be a trail to the left. This trail takes you west towards Santiago Oaks Regional Park and from there has trails that connect throughout the county.

The Anaheim Hills Riding and Walking Trail provides a quick getaway for those in Anaheim, Orange and the surrounding communities. The Weir Canyon Wilderness Park isn’t too expansive yet, but as more trails are developed further into the Irvine Ranch lands, this park and trail will become increasingly popular. As it is right now, it’s only frequented by locals and is relatively unknown. If you’re looking for a local trail to get away from the crowds, this is it.

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Vital Stats
Trailhead pancreatitis +Tustin,+ca&hl=en&sll=33.779682,-117.751036&sspn=0.018549,0.038581&vpsrc=0&gl=us&t=m&z=16″ target=”_blank”>8548 E. Canyon View Ave.
Orange, CA 92869
Length 4.06 Miles
Elevation 203 Feet
Difficulty Easy


Peters Canyon is a very popular nature park for both hikers and mountain bikers. The park boasts a surprisingly diverse group of habitats and terrains for visitors to enjoy.

[flickr id=”6190508684″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] This route starts from the parking lot at the north end of Peters Canyon, near the Peters Canyon Reservoir. Parking costs $3, or you can get an annual pass for all Orange County parks for $80 that’s good January through December (although the price is normally cut in half after July.)

From the parking lot, the trail heads east towards Jamboree Road, paralleling Canyon View Ave. After a short distance, there is a gate on the right that leads to Willow Trail. Willow Trail is seasonal, and often times the gate will be locked. However, when it’s open, Willow Trail is a splendid little get-away of dense trees and poison oak. If the Willow Trail is closed when you hike through Peters Canyon, a little further on is the turnoff for the Lake View Trail, which will connect with Peters Canyon Trail just like Willow Trail will.

[flickr id=”6189990345″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Once on Peters Canyon Trail, you’ll head south along the Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir. Peters Canyon Trail is the main trail that runs north-south through Peters Canyon, as the name would imply. There are numerous offshoots from Peters Canyon Trail that will allow to you experience all that Peters Canyon has to offer. As you head down Peters Canyon Trail, you’ll see East Ridge View Trail raising directly in front of you. Thankfully, this route goes around that large hill.

Instead of heading up East Ridge View Trail, this route continues to follow Peters Canyon Trail south until reaching a grove of eucalyptus trees on the left side of the trail. Directly across from those trees is a little trail called Peters Canyon Creek Trail. If you missed Willow Trail earlier because it was closed, Peters Canyon Creek Trail will make up for that.

[flickr id=”6190513096″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Peters Canyon Creek Trail is narrow and winding, closed to mountain bikes. Small wooden bridges cross over the creek a number of times, and in the low lying marshy parts of the trail there are stepping stones to keep your feet dry. Again, there is a fair amount of poison oak along this trail, so be careful not to brush up against the bushes. Peters Canyon Creek Trail is by far the most serene and tranquil area of Peters Canyon.

Peters Canyon Creek Trail returns you to Peters Canyon Trail. If you’re like me and picked up one of the park maps when you were at the parking lot, you’ll likely think that going back up to Scout Hill Trail to connect to East Ridge View Trail would make a nice loop back to the car. Unfortunately, Scout Hill Trail doesn’t exist. If you want to take East Ridge View Trail back, you’ll have to continue heading south on Peters Canyon Trail and use Eucalyptus Trail to connect to East Ridge View Trail.

[flickr id=”6190515454″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Instead of continuing south, this route retraces its steps north along Peters Canyon Trail until it reaches the fork for Lake View Trail right at the dam. Lake View Trail has the hardest climb of this route, largely because the hill has become so sandy and loose due to all the traffic. A lot of the traffic down this hill is from mountain bikes, which come barreling down the hill. If you’re hiking on this trail, make sure you keep your eye out for cyclists coming down.

Once at the top of the hill, you’re rewarded with a spectacular view of Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir. If you need a rest after climbing the hill, there is a little spur of trail off to the right where there is a bench overlooking the reservoir. It’s a great place to rest and catch your breath before you head back downhill and then up a second hill.

[flickr id=”6189998601″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] As you continue along Lake View Trail, you’ll come to an offshoot for Cactus Point. Cactus Point doesn’t really go anywhere, simply connecting back to Lake View Trail a few hundred feet down the trail. However, Cactus Point provides the best views of Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir available. From here, you’ll be able to see the entire reservoir and across to the parking lot and your car.

Once back on Lake View Trail, continue heading down hill and make a sharp ninety degree turn at the base of the hill. After the bend, you’ll quickly come to a fork in the road with Lake View Trail continuing to the right. Wind your way through some larger bushes and onto Meadow Lark Trail. Meadow Lark Trail will take you along Skylark Place and back to the parking lot.

There are other parts of Peters Canyon that can be explored, most notably East Ridge View Trail, but this is the easiest route that will allow you to see the nicest parts of the park. As with many open areas in Orange County that are available for hiking, there are many different landscapes available within Peters Canyon Regional Park. It’s a convenient place to visit for a quick and easy hike before or after work during the week.

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Oak Canyon Nature Center

Vital Stats
Trailhead artificial +Anaheim, prostate +CA&hl=en&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=38.365962,79.013672&vpsrc=0&hnear=6700+Walnut+Canyon+Rd,+Anaheim,+California+92807&t=m&z=16″>6700 Walnut Canyon RdAnaheim, CA 92807
Length 1.89 Miles
Elevation 194 Feet
Difficulty Easy

Oak Canyon Nature Center is a small park nestled in the canyons of Anaheim Hills. The park is ideal for parents and children looking for just a taste of the outdoors. For locals, the Oak Canyon Nature Center is also a great place for short trail runs or hikes when you just want to get out of the house. Unfortunately, Oak Canyon isn’t open to mountain bikes, but honestly it isn’t big enough to really enjoy yourself on a bike anyways.

This route takes you through the south side of Oak Canyon Nature Center, which is wooded with a thick oak forest and back down along the main access road that runs the length of the park. The north side of the park, which this route doesn’t explore, is much more barren. The trail starts just past and behind the interpretive center.

Oak Canyon Nature Center

Tranquility Trail heads slightly up hill through an old grove of oak trees. There are a couple of offshoots from the trail that head up into the neighborhoods at the top of the hill. Once the trail makes a meandering horseshoe U-turn to the left the trail levels off and transitions into California chaparral.

Tranquility Trail continues until it runs into Wren Way. You can take Tranquility Trail back down to the main access road or continue strait onto Wren Way. Wren Way is a trail covered with a low canopy of trees that undulates as it heads slightly uphill. Wren Way follows along a drainage channel, over a number of bridges built as Eagle Scout projects over the years.

Oak Canyon Nature Center

Wren Way runs into Bluebird Loop, which runs all the way out of the park. You’ll reach a fallen tree next to a chain link fence, which is the parks border. The trail continues over the fallen tree and through a short section of single track until it reaches the access road. Once at the access road, you turn left and are faced with the same chain link fence you passed earlier. On the right side of the vehicle access gate is an opening that will allow you back into the park.

From the park gate, simply take the access road back to the parking lot. The road is all downhill in this direction. The road follows the stream that runs the length of the park. There is one stream crossing that has a small wooden foot bridge. As with most access roads, this one is wide and mostly smooth as far as trails go.

This trail through Oak Canyon Nature Center in the heart of Anaheim Hills is an easy hike suitable for families. Both my wife and I grew up visiting this park often, my wife even did her Girl Scout Gold Award project here. Oak Canyon is not a large park and doesn’t allow bikes, but is a great park for a family outing.

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Published inAnaheimOak Canyon Nature Center