Hikes in Southern California

Below is a collection of trails in Southern California (Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and San Diego County). These hikes are listed roughly from north to south, but the table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes. An interactive map is also provided.

Highlights of Southern California

  • This non-nonsense 13.2-mile round trip hike ascends 4,500 feet to one of Southern California's most panoramic summits.
  • This 9-mile loop in Crystal Cove State Park follows guide markers exploring geology in the beautiful backcountry of this Orange County wilderness.
  • This 2-mile round trip hike ventures down Moro Canyon to a picturesque beach in Crystal Cove State Park.
  • This 5-mile loop used four trails to explore two canyons and and a ridge in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
  • This 3.65-mile loop expands on the 2.7-mile Lake View Loop with a small loop to the high point of Peters Canyon Regional Park.
  • The 5.1-mile round trip hike in the Palomar Mountains travels between Observatory Campground and Palomar Observatory, crossing a pleasant mountain woodland with valley views along the way.
  • This 1 to 1.4-mile round trip hike follows a mountain stream to an overlook of an amazing heart-shaped formation in the rock wall along Seeley Creek Falls.
  • This 3.25-mile round trip hike reaches a panoramic summit above the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains.
  • This 6-mile round trip hike crosses a saddle to a 5,790-foot summit with views of the mountains around San Jacinto Peak near Idyllwild.
  • This 1/3-mile round trip hike visits a refreshing waterfall, cascade, and swimming hole off Ortega Highway in the Santa Ana Mountains.

Hiking Southern California

While hikespeak.com proudly offers information on over 150 hikes in Los Angeles, the surrounding counties have enjoyable trails too. Below is a collection of trails in the Southern California counties of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino. SoCal is SoReady to be hiked!

The highest point in Southern California in found in the San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino County. San Gorgonio Mountain is 11,500 feet tall and one of the most topographically prominent peaks in America. The San Bernardino National Forest is the principal parkland preserving the San Bernardino Mountains, protecting 676,666 acres in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

 

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Heart Rock100Heart Rock
This hike follows a mountain stream to an overlook of an amazing heart-shaped formation in the rock wall along Seeley Creek Falls.
1 - 1.4 miles
200 feet
34.257001,
-117.305862
Marshall Peak150Marshall Peak
This hike reaches a panoramic summit above the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains.
3.25 miles
375 feet
34.22432,
-117.299559
Heaps Peak Arboretum170Heaps Peak Arboretum
Take a short hike on Sequoia Trail and Footprint Trail to learn about the plants, animals, and natural history of the San Bernardino Mountains.
0.75 miles
90 feet
34.2338,
-117.1606
Towne Trail Big Bear Lake200Towne Trail
This easy out and back hike takes a gradual course across the mountains on the south side of Big Bear Lake.
2.66 miles
200 feet
34.236792,
-116.889687
Whitewater Preserve230Canyon View Loop Trail
This loop in Whitewater Preserve crosses Whitewater River and incorporates a section of the Pacific Crest Trail to deliver big views up and down Whitewater Canyon.
3.75 miles
650 feet
33.989183,
-116.656132
Indian Mountain Trail250Indian Mountain
This out and back hike crosses a saddle to a 5,790-foot summit with views of the mountains around San Jacinto Peak near Idyllwild.
6 miles
815 feet
33.797213,
-116.7777
San Jacinto Peak via Mountain Trail260San Jacinto Peak via Marion Mountain Trail
This non-nonsense out and back hike ascends to one of Southern California's most panoramic summits.
13.2 miles
4500 feet
33.79117,
-116.735386
Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail270Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail
This gradual out and back hike near Idyllwild crosses quiet forests with rugged mountain views.
5.2 miles
675 feet
33.764735,
-116.687213
Carbon Canyon Redwood Grove300Carbon Canyon Regional Park Redwood Grove
This level hike visits a small grove of small coastal redwoods that is the largest grove of these large trees in Southern California.
2.5 miles
75 feet
33.920923,
-117.82935
Weir Canyon Trail306Weir Canyon Trail
This loop explores the side of a canyon in a wilderness connected to Santiago Oaks Regional Park near Anaheim.
3.8 miles
350 feet
33.830446,
-117.744129
Peters Canyon Regional Park310Lake View Loop & East Ridge Overlook
This figure eight loop adds a short extension to Lake View Loop to reach the high point of Peters Canyon Regional Park.
3.65 miles
200 feet
33.784024,
-117.762424
Lake Huntington320Lake Huntington
This level and easy loop circles a small lake in Huntington Beach Central Park.
0.75 miles
25 feet
33.69929,
-118.010354
West Bluff Trail Upper Newport Bay330West Bluff Trail Loop
This loop combines trails above and below the West Bluff in Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve to provide a variety of views across Upper Newport Bay.
2.5 miles
75 feet
33.654468,
-117.886134
Little Sycamore Canyon Loop340Little Sycamore Canyon - Serrano Ridge - Camarillo Canyon - Stagecoach South Trails Loop in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
This loop uses four trails to explore two canyons and a ridge in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
5 miles
500 feet
33.607746,
-117.763248
Crystal Cove Backcountry Loop360Geology Discovery Trail
This loop in Crystal Cove State Park follows guide markers exploring geology in the beautiful backcountry of this Orange County wilderness.
9 miles
900 feet
33.56638,
-117.821616
Crystal Cove Beach363Moro Beach
This out and back hike ventures down Moro Canyon to a picturesque beach in Crystal Cove State Park.
2 miles
150 feet
33.56638,
-117.821616
El Cariso Nature Trail390El Cariso Nature Trail
This loop examines common plants in the Santa Ana Mountains, along with uncommon views views across the mountain range, passing an old mine for more fun.
1.35 - 1.55 miles
125 feet
33.650867,
-117.413113
Ortega Falls400Ortega Falls
This hike visits a refreshing waterfall, cascade, and swimming hole off Ortega Highway in the Santa Ana Mountains.
0.33 miles
50 feet
33.625765,
-117.426339
Fisherman's Camp600Fisherman's Camp
This hike follows an old road to an old campground with views over San Mateo Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains.
3.33 miles
400 feet
33.532281,
-117.393036
Monserate Mountain Trail700Moserate Mountain
This loop begins with a 1 2/3-mile ascent to a panoramic summit before descending along a ridge for even more views.
4.4 miles
1,200 feet
33.365934,
-117.159113
Observatory Trail800Observatory Trail
The out and back hike travels between Observatory Campground and Palomar Observatory, crossing a pleasant mountain woodland with valley views along the way.
5.1 miles
700 feet
33.342414,
-116.878697
Indian Flats Trail820Indian Flats Trail
This easy hike from Indian Flats Campground explores seasonal pools in the East Fork of the San Luis Rey River.
0.5 miles
75 feet
33.349488,
-116.661797
Kwaay Paay Peak Trail980Kwaay Paay Peak
This out and back hike rewards a good workout with panoramic views as it climbs to a 1,194-foot summit in Mission Trails Regional Park, just 10 miles from downtown San Diego.
2.5 miles
890 feet
32.84022,
-117.03701
hikespeak
Heaps Peak Arboretum Sequoia Trail San Bernardino Mountains Nature Trail San Bernardino National Forest Arboretum hike Lake Arrowhead California
Get to know the plants, animals, and natural history of Southern California at Heaps Peak Arboretum. Located near Lake Arrowhead, the arboretum is a developed piece of San Bernardino National Forest. Sequoia Trail is the main trail through Heaps Peak Arboretum, covering 3/4 of a mile with 90 feet of elevation change. The star of the trail is a planted grove of... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: March 11, 2017
Kwaay Paay Peak Trail Hike Mission Trails Regional Park San Diego California Mission Dam to Kwaay Paay Mountain
Pay a visit to Kwaay Paay Peak for an efficient workout that's rewarded with panoramic views. The 2.5-mile round trip hike to the 1,194-foot summit climbs 885 feet, with steep stretches that will have your heart pumping. The summit is just ten miles from downtown San Diego, within the 6,800 acres of Mission Trails Regional Park, so you'll see beautiful natural landscapes... Read more.
OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with · Free Trails · Mission Trails Regional Park · Santee · Summits
Distance: 2.5 miles · Elevation change: 890 feet
By: Published: Last updated: December 29, 2016
Monserate Mountain Preserve Hike Fallbrook Monserate Mountain Summit Trail Monserate Mountain Loop Trail San Diego County
Monserate Mountain offers a workout of a hike, beginning just off Interstate 15 in the Northern San Diego County city of Fallbrook, just ten miles south of Temecula in Riverside County. There is 1,200 vertical feet between the trailhead at the base of Monserate Mountain and the panoramic summit at the top, tackled on a 1 2/3-mile ascent. You can turn around at the top... Read more.
OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with · Fallbrook · Fallbrook Land Conservancy · Free Trails · Monserate Mountain Preserve · Summits
Distance: 4.4 miles · Elevation change: 1200 feet
By: Published: Last updated: March 10, 2017
Canyon View Loop Trail Whitewater Preserve Pacific Crest Trail San Bernardino Mountains Palm Springs hike
You would not expect to find a Whitewater River in the vicinity of Palm Springs, but this surprising river is vital for the fertility of the Coachella Valley, bringing wonderful water from the San Bernardino Mountains to the desert below where it empties into the Salton Sea. Journeyman hikers can pass through Whitewater Preserve on the Pacific Crest Trail and day hikers... Read more.
OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with · Creeks · Free Trails · Pacific Crest Trail · San Bernardino Mountains · Whitewater Preserve
Distance: 3.75 miles · Elevation change: 650 feet
By: Published: Last updated: March 10, 2017
Weir Canyon Trail Loop Weir Canyon Wilderness Park Orange County hike Santiago Oaks Regional Park Anaheim Hills
Where can you go for a loop hike in a wilderness area in Orange County? Why, Weir Canyon of course. Weir Canyon Trail provides a 3.8-mile loop over undulating terrain on the side of Weir Canyon in the Anaheim Hills below the Santa Ana Mountains. There is 350 feet of elevation between the high and low points of the loop, but all the ups and downs along the trail make it... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: March 24, 2017