Trail Running at Riley Wilderness Park

The Quick and Dirty:

Location: Thomas F. Riley wilderness park or more commonly known as Riley Wilderness Park is one of the OCParks in Orange County, California. It is located on 30952 Oso Parkway, Coto De Caza, CA. 
We ran about 4 miles to the Skank Vista Point, down through Oak Canyon and looped around the Pheasant Run (this is the outer loop of the preserve). 
Easy hike and trail run, lots of good rolling hills for a good workout but nothing too strenuous. 
 It took us about 50 minutes to finish the 4 mile run with breaks in between.
Dogs Allowed? No dogs are allowed inside the preserve but ironically equestrians are allowed to ride their horses on the trail. 
Best time to visit: 
The preserve is open year-round from 7AM to sunset.
Trail Parking: 
Parking is $3 at the designated preserve parking lot. There was plenty of parking early in the morning when we started the run but the lot got pretty full by the time we left. If you visit OCParks often, annual passes are available for purchase at the ranger’s station. IMG_20160327_101619.jpg

We wanted to go take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and decided to do some trail running within Riley Wilderness Park in south Orange County. Located in the city of Coto de Caza, the wilderness park has 544 acres of wilderness land along with 5 miles of running and biking trails.

We’ve been to this park in the past for mountain biking, but this would be our first time trail running the entire thing. We arrived at the wilderness area mid morning and started towards Skank Vista Point. There was a bit of climb to the vista point but the overall distance of the climb was pretty short.


Sam running uphill towards Skank Vista Point at Riley Wilderness Park


Vista Point facing the Southern California peaks

Once we peaked the Skank Vista Point, we ran the outer loop of the park via Canyon Oak trail. The park is filled with beautiful rolling hills and fragrant coastal sages that are in full seasonal bloom. IMG_20160327_095236.jpg

The trail condition at the park is very well maintain. In addition for the trails being available for runners and mountain bikers, it is also open for the equestrian community.


Walking through an empty river bed on the way to Pheasant Run

Once we finished the outer loop of the park, we decided to explore the park a little more by running around Pheasant Run. There used to be a hunting club on the wilderness area  and wild pheasants were brought here for club members to hunt. The photo below shows a sign describing how pheasants were delivered on a conveyor belt into the wilderness area.


We ended our visit by walking around the butterfly and native garden next to the ranger station. We did not see any butterflies while we were there but the native garden was in full bloom and it was fun to compare lots of similar plants to the ones we’ve planted at home. IMG_20160327_101034.jpg



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