Hikes in Orange County

Flanked by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Santa Ana Mountains to the east, hiking in Orange County can be a varied experience. The heavily populated county is home to several satisfying parks that break up the city sprawl of over three million residents. If you want to get outdoors in Orange County, Disneyland is not your only option!

Highlights of Orange County

  • 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 2.5-mile 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.
  • This level and easy 3/4-mile loop circles a small lake in Huntington Beach Central 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.
  • This level 2.5-mile round trip hike visits a small grove of small coastal redwoods in Carbon Canyon Regional Park that is the largest grove of these large trees in Southern California.

Hiking Orange County

Orange County’s most rugged trails can be found in the Santa Ana Mountains, which run along the border between Orange County and Riverside County. Santiago Peak is the highest point in the Santa Ana Mountains and in Orange County at 5,687 feet. A National Forest Adventure Pass may be required to visit some areas of the Santa Ana Mountains that are protected by Cleveland National Forest. While not technically in Orange County, Ortega Falls and El Cariso Nature Trail are located in the Santa Ana Mountains just across the county border in Riverside County, so you may want to check them out too.

Orange County Hiking

This collection of trails in Orange County, California lists hikes roughly from north to south and west to east. 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, GPS maps, elevation profiles, directions, and all other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes in Orange County. Below the table is an interactive map showing the location of each hike.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
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
Laguna Coast Wilderness340Little 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 State Park360Geology 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
Moro 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
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: April 1, 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.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Mission Trails Regional Park · Santee · Summits
Distance: 2.5 miles · Elevation change: 890 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 3, 2017
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.
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Tagged with · Fallbrook · Fallbrook Land Conservancy · Free Trails · Monserate Mountain Preserve · Summits
Distance: 4.4 miles · Elevation change: 1200 feet
By: Published: Last updated: April 11, 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.
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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: April 12, 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: April 12, 2017