[flickr id=”6190507644″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”]
|Trailhead||8548 E. Canyon View Ave.
Orange, CA 92869
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.
[flickrset id=”72157627644757905″ thumbnail=”square” photos=”” overlay=”true” size=”medium”]