While there may seem like there are few reasons to visit Orange County considering that Disneyland is closed, there are still a ton of things to do in Orange County. If exploring the outdoors interests you, there are an abundance of hikes to venture on in OC that are especially great during the pandemic.
Orange County is home to hiking trails perfect for family strolls with wide pathways, beach nature walks down the coast, and even some challenging trails up steep mountains and hills.
Here are ten hikes in order from easy and relaxing to more strenuous and challenging:
Oak Canyon Nature Center (Anaheim)
The Oak Canyon Nature Center is a park totaling 58-acres in Anaheim that features four miles of hiking trails for all members of the family. While some are peaceful and more kid-friendly, other trails like Roadrunner Ridge are steep, have little shade, and contain many cacti.
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (Huntington Beach)
The Bolsa Chica reserve trials are mainly flat and will take you through the wetlands in a peaceful and relaxing way. The trails will open your eyes to ocean views, bird spotting and allow you to breathe fresh air.
Quail Hill Loop (Irvine)
Located in Irvine’s open preserve totaling up to 5,200 acres, Quail Hill Loop was converted to a one-way trail design to accommodate social distancing. This hike is about 2 miles long and is relatively easy, and takes you from suburban Irvine to an open free world of nature.
Top of the World (Laguna Beach)
This hike is a quick 2.5-mile walk in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Park. If the weather permits, 360-degree views of Catalina Island’s tops all the way to the San Gabriel Mountains can be seen on a clear day. If you’re solely there for the views and want to skip the hike, you can even drive up and park on the top.
El Moro Canyon (Laguna Beach)
The El Moro Canyon is one of many scenic hikes in Orange County that measures to 3 miles long. The trail leads you to Moro Beach, but you need to head over to Crystal Cove State Park. If the 3 miles directly to the beach seem too easy, you can explore the canyon and ridges before heading all the way down to the sand.
Red Rock Canyon (Lake Forest)
With a hike of a little over 4 miles, you will venture on an Instagram dream canyon — especially great in the evenings. The views are absolutely stunning and are great for photogenic purposes.
Black Star Canyon Trail (Orange County)
This trail is completely remote and flows through a canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains to a waterfall. The hike is 6.8 miles, but it’s totally worth it upon your arrival at the falls. While the hike may seem easy at first due to a minimal incline, the trail turns very rocky as you approach the falls, making it challenging to navigate.
Back Bay Loop Trail (Newport Beach)
This hike is about 10.5 miles long but flows on an even level. It’s recommended to start at the Vista Point Lookout, which has the best views, even though the entire hike is scenic.
Willow Canyon Trail to Bommer Ridge (Laguna Beach)
While this hike is challenging, it actually won’t leave you completely worn out the next day. This hiking trail stretches about 9 miles uphill through the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, which can be quite exhausting, but the views of Laguna Beach are worth the pain.
Harding Falls Trail (Silverado)
Warning that this 5+ mile hike is very strenuous, and it’s necessarily the best for beginners. However, if you think you can power through the boulder-hopping, poison oak, and unmarked terrain, you will come across a stunning waterfall. If you can’t make it to the waterfall, though, transparent pools of water are at the base of the canyon.
Although hiking was limited at the start of the pandemic, like other things that people were limited to, most of the hiking trails, if not all, have reopened and are back to serving people the ability to experience the beauty of nature. It may seem like there are limited things to do in Orange County, but hiking trails like the ten above are great ways to escape the harsh reality of the pandemic and venture out into the environment.
This blog is brought to you by Toyota of Orange, a recognized Toyota dealer near Tustin.