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10 Of The Best Hikes In Orange County To Go On Now
Health & Fitness

10 Of The Best Hikes In Orange County To Go On Now

Have you explored all the best hikes in Orange County yet? From mountain hikes to coastal trails, these are the best ones yet.

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4 min read

January 03, 2022

Orange County is a SoCal paradise through and through. What’s the best way to see all of its beauty in person you ask? Hiking the best Orange County trails, duh. Fresh air, great views, and a bit of exercise to get your blood pumping—what could be better than trekking the best hikes in Orange County?

These are the Best Hikes in Orange County

Do more things that make you forget to check your phone. Hiking is the answer. Who cares what the question is.

1. Peters Canyon Lake View and East Ridge Loops

Location: Peters Canyon Regional Park, Orange
Length: 5.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: On leash

As one of the most popular hikes in Orange County, the Peters Canyon Lake View and East Ridge Loops makes you feel like you’re a world away. In just over five miles, you’ll come across resident and migrating waterfowl, as well as beautiful flora like black willows, sycamores, and cottonwoods along the creek. Fair warning: this O.C. hiking trail doesn't get much shade, so grab a hat and enough water to be safe.

2. Buck Gully Trail

Location: Buck Gully Reserve, Corona del Mar
Length: 4.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Route: Out and back
Dogs allowed: No

Newport Beach is quite the treasure trove when it comes to hiking trails in Orange County, and the Buck Gully Trail is one of its gems. Also used for running and mountain biking, this hike in Orange County is perfect for when you want a dose of nature without a serious trek.

We’d rather be hiking in the rain than sitting inside at a desk on a sunny day. All good things are wild and free.

3. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail

Location: Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington Beach
Length: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: No

More of a tranquil coastal stroll masquerading as a hike, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail is ideal for those who appreciate the views more than the exercise. Trek this short beach hike in Orange County and you’ll get scenic ocean panoramas and bird watching opportunities. This hike in Orange County also tends to be a hit with kids, so don’t think twice about bringing them along!

4. Las Ramblas and Harbor View Trail

Location: San Clemente
Length: 2.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Route: Out and back
Dogs allowed: Yes

Looking for the perfect, easy, dog-friendly hike in Orange County? It can’t get much better than Las Ramblas. You can let your four-legged friend run leash-free for a portion of this hike and see San Juan Capistrano like you’ve never before. Keep your eyes open for deer, bobcats, and beautiful wildflowers lining this Orange County trail.

Hiking is one of those things that you can only do when you have the determination in you. Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.

5. Santiago Oaks Trail and Peralta Hills Trail

Location: Santiago Oaks Regional Park, Orange
Length: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: On leash

Do you have the will to exercise but not the time? The Santiago Oaks Trail is the perfect hiking trail in Orange County for you. Just over two miles in length but packing enough challenges to get you huffing and puffing, this quick O.C. hiking trail is perfect both in the views and exercise department.

6. Top of the World via Canyon Acres Trail

Location: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Laguna Beach
Length: 2.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Route: Out and back
Dogs allowed: On leash

This hike in Orange County is definitely a challenge, but once you see the views at the top, you’ll do it again without a second thought. On a clear day, the sweeping panoramas at the top of this O.C. hiking trail display the Channel Islands to the west and the San Gabriel Mountains to the north—talk about a trail with a view. 

Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking. You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.

7. Weir Canyon Loop Trail

Location: Weir Canyon Regional Park, Anaheim 
Length: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: On leash

Located near Anaheim, the Weir Canyon Loop Trail is a scenic hiking trail in Orange County. Winding canyon paths, panoramic views of the mountains, and interesting flora and fauna are a few things hikers of this trail will get to experience. If an abundance of natural sights and sounds appeals to you, Weir Canyon is the best hike in Orange County to go on.

8. El Moro Canyon Loop Trail

Location: Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Coast
Length: 5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Route: Loop
Dogs allowed: No

It’s easy to see why this loop is a favorite in the Crystal Cove backcountry. With spectacular views of the coast, a shady canyon that feels worlds away, and beautiful wildflowers around springtime, this hike in Orange County is a total winner.

People who choose to spend time outdoors are not running away from anything; they're returning to where we belong.

9. Modjeska Peak via Joplin Truck Trail

Location: Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco Canyon
Length: 13.4 miles
Difficulty: Hard
Route: Out and back
Dogs allowed: On leash

This Orange County trail is bound to impress the real pros out there looking for a challenge. At nearly 5,500 feet in elevation, this strenuous hike takes you along arguably the best vantage points the Santa Ana Mountains have to offer. While this technically is a dog-friendly hike in Orange County, consider going solo or with another hiker buddy if you’re aiming to go all the way.

10. San Juan Hot Springs via Juaneno Trail 

Location: Caspers Wilderness Park, Trabuco Canyon
Length: 10.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Route: Out and back
Dogs allowed: No

This 10-mile trek through the vast Caspers Wilderness Park takes you to natural hot springs with an interesting past. Sitting at the location of what used to be a resort and tourist attraction in the late 19th century, these springs are actually still intact. While going in the springs is not recommended, the views along this hike in Orange County are still entirely worth it.

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