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Category: Santiago Oaks Regional Park

This secluded refuge offers the natural charm of mountain vistas, an orange grove, native oak trees and a creek. Here hikers, naturalists and equestrians can enjoy the scenery as well as interpretive programs at the visitor center.

Santiago Oaks Regional Park – Peralta Hills, Bumble Bee, and Mountain Goat Trails

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Vital Stats
Trailhead check +Lake+Forest, order +CA&hl=en&ll=33.681229,-117.665098&spn=0.009856,0.01929&sll=33.680515,-117.664733&sspn=0.009856,0.01929&vpsrc=0&gl=us&hnear=26711+Portola+Pkwy,+Lake+Forest,+Orange,+California+92610&t=m&z=16″>26711 Portola Parkway
Lake Forest, CA
Length 4.6 Miles
Elevation 446 Feet
Difficulty Easy

Whiting Ranch is a part of the OC Parks Limestone Canyon & Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Whiting Ranch is open to the public like most other Orange County parks, while Limestone Canyon is only open two days a month for open access days and for guided tours. Whiting Ranch is very popular with mountain bikers but is open to hikers and even has a few trails that are only open to those on foot.

Borrego Trail out to Red Rock Canyon starts from the parking lot located on Portola Parkway right at Market Place in Lake Forest. Parking is $3, just as it is at most other OC Parks. The trailhead is marked by a sculpture garden with a large obelisk at its center that’s dedicated to the local wildlife. There is also an information kiosk that has all of the standard warnings and information for the park, and some maps of the park’s trails that you can take with you.

Once on the trail, the first thing you’ll notice is a large sign warning of mountain lions. This isn’t the only mountain lion warning on the trail, and for good reason. Over the years there have been a number of mountain lion attacks in Whiting Ranch, including one fatal one in 2004. However, Whiting Ranch is a very popular park and the odds of being attacked are very low.

The trail heads north through a valley that’s flanked by houses. Despite that, you get the feeling of being in the wilderness quite quickly. Almost immediately you cross a sandy, dry stream bed that’s a bit difficult to walk in and very difficult to ride a bike in. This stream hadn’t been quite so sandy prior to the winter storms of 2007, but that year the rains washed a lot of sand down out of the canyons and deposited it on the lower reaches of the stream. Continue reading Santiago Oaks Regional Park – Peralta Hills, Bumble Bee, and Mountain Goat Trails

Rain forces trail closures in Orange County

[flickr id=”6157834324″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”large” group=”” align=”left”]

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. Continue reading Rain forces trail closures in Orange County