Back in October of 2017, Canyon Fire 2 claimed over 9,200 acres, 15 homes, 10 structures, as well spreading rampant in three of Orange Counties regional parks: Santiago Oaks, Irvine, and Peter’s Canyon. Although the fire trucks and news vans have long since departed, many of our favorite hiking trails still remain closed due to the extensive fire damage.
With the New Year comes New Years Resolutions and it isn’t uncommon to have fitness in mind. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to train like an elite athlete or you’re just interested in a leisurely walk, there is a trail for everyone in beautiful Orange County, CA.
1.) West Ridge Trail/Top of World
Nicknamed “Top of the World” for it’s breathtaking 360 views from the top where on a clear day you can see the ocean, The Mission Viejo hills, Newport Beach, and Riverside. Be sure to bring lots of water and a snack to enjoy before you make your way back down to Earth.
2.) O’Neill Park/Vista Trail
Clocking in at roughly an hour and a half, round rip, fitness fiends and casual hikers alike will enjoy this trail with a killer view! This beautiful trail comes fully equipped with a bench and (thanks to The Boy Scouts of America) looking glasses to enhance your vista views!
3.) Quail Tail/Quail Hill Loop
A well groomed, two mile, relatively flat hike that is perfect for absolutely anyone and everyone. Enjoy the views of the Santa Ana Mountain Range and reach your daily steps or lounge on one of the shaded benches that can be found along the trail.
4.) San Clemente Pedestrian Beach Trail
Hugging one of the most picturesque shorelines in Southern California, the San Clemente Beach Trail is one of the best hikes in all of Orange County (this spot really captures San Clemente’s small town spirit). When you aren’t memorized by the crashing waves, this boardwalk-esq trail, there is plenty of wildlife and stunning beach front homes. However, due to the active Amtrak train running, you do need to keep an eye out and pay close attention to railway crossing signs.
5.) Shipwreck Hike/SS Dominator
Located in Rancho Palos Verde, this hike falls outside of the normal scope for “Orange County Hikes,” this hike has something very unique to offer. The Shipwreck Hike will lead you to what remains of the SS Dominator- a Greek freight ship that has been rusting on the beaches of Rancho Palos Verdes in the early 60’s. This two mile hike is nothing to scoff at; the terrain becomes rocky and uneven once you make your descent to beach. This is a moderately difficult hike but getting to stand on the beach and watch waves crash on a long forgotten ship makes this one of Southern California’s most unique places to hike.