The Quick and Dirty: Location –Smuggler’s Cove, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park Distance – 7.5 mile round trip Terrain Type – Coastal, the hike ends up at a secluded beach called Smuggler’s Cove Difficulty – Moderate with some hill climbs
The Quick and Dirty: Location – Potato Harbor, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park Distance – 5 mile round trip Terrain Type – Slight ascend at the beginning of the hike to the top of the sea cliff and then the hike levels out Difficulty – Easy Best Time – Spring with the wild flowers makes this a magificient hike but the trail is accessible year-round
The Quick and Dirty: Location – Starting off at the south end of O’Neill Regional Park on Mesa trail, the Arroyo Trabuco – Tijeras Creek loop takes you around the city of Ranch Santa Margarita. See route on geoladders.com. Distance – It is roughly a 14-mile loop if you don’t miss the turnout to Tijeras Creek like we did. Terrain Type – Mix of double track and single track. Rocky stretches, creek crossings, wood stretches and sand. Difficulty – Good for beginner-intermediate mountain biking with a few climbs where I had to descend my bike and walk up the hill Best Time – Year-round, there are a few stream crossings that can get quite deep after a big rain storm. Personally, I do think spring is the best time to see this trail, because everything was still lush from the recent rain events. Parking- Parking at O’Neill park’s main lot is not free, we park on El Camino Montana Road parallel to the Mesa Trail.
The Quick and Dirty:
Location: 31671 Isle Vista, Laguna Niguel, CA. Free parking can be found on Isle Vista street. Park on the street before entering the private, gated community. Distance: Short 1.5 mile walk with panoramic views of Dana Point and Laguna Beach. Difficulty: Easy, this trail is not really a hike but a leaisure walk. It is super short but perfect to bring friends and family who wants an ocean view by can’t walk or hike very far. Dogs Allowed? Yes, dogs need to be leashed on to be on the trail.
If you want a panoramic ocean view in south Orange County without the crowd, this is the place to come. We stumbled upon this short hiking trail during a dog Meetup for Dakota and have been taking family and friends to visit this place ever since.
Located in Laguna Niguel, Badlands Park is a short 1.5 walk with a view of the Dana Point to Laguna Beach coastline on one side and equally impressive cliff-side houses on the other. We think this trail is great if you are looking for a leisure stroll with a panoramic view and without needing direct beach access. Picnic tables are also available at the beginning of the trail for a meal and a nice view of the coastal sunset.
Coast view looking north towards Laguna Beach. On a clear day, you can see as far as Long Beach toward the north and Catalina Island towards the west.
I woke up last Sunday realizing it was a gorgeous day in Southern California. After a long hot summer, it finally felt like fall has arrived in Southern California. With temperature dipping below 80 degrees, we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather by visiting the Oak Glen Preserve in Yucaipa, California.
Located 80 miles from Orange County, the drive to Oak Glen Preserve took about an hour and half without any heavy traffic. We arrived at the preserve at 10:30 and the place was getting crowded. The entrance to the preserve is free but they do encourage donations at the end of the hike.
The main loop of the hike consist of 2-miles of flat walking. The trail started out at Children’s Forest, I was delighted to find tons of California native plants blooming in the area. Next, we stopped by a large area shaded by giant sequoias. Although these sequoias are young compared to their counter parts in the north, it felt a little surreal to be looking up at giant sequoias in San Bernardino County. Nonetheless, it was a great way to experience the sequoias locally without having to travel too far.
Giant sequoia trees
Next we hopped onto the chaparral loop and decided to extend our hike up the spurs trail. The spurs trail was definitely a good cardio workout, it is 0.9 miles of steep single-track uphill, we were definitely out of breath by the time we got to the top of the hill. The view at the high elevation is definitely worth the hike if you have the time.
This was the view at the top of spurs trail. Since it was a clear day, we were able to see the Saddleback Mtns near our house from the high point.
We finished our 5 mile hike around 1:30PM and noticed the picnic areas near the entrance of the preserve was now packed with lots of young families. We initially wanted to stop by the Los Rios Rancho, a shop next door to the preserve, however, seeing how long the lines were for a seasonal pie, we quickly changed our minds.
The Oak Glen preserve is open daily from 8AM to 4:30PM. It’s a great place to take family and friends and spend a day outside. The main loop trail is easy to do for people of all ages and if you are looking for something a little more challenging, the spurs trail is a good one to try. The preserve is also dog friendly, so take your pup with you to enjoy this amazing open space!