6 Most Beautiful Places to Hike in Orange County, California

Orange County offers plenty of natural splendor, from its breathtaking coastline to the wooded inland parks. Hikes for all skill levels will lead adventurers to hidden waterfalls, tree-lined paths, and wetlands teeming with animals. Here are six gorgeous Orange County trails just waiting to be explored.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park is approximately 2,500 acres of pure beauty. Here you’ll discover 23 trails for hikers and bikers, although the popular Red Rock Canyon trail is accessible just to hikers. This scenic half-mile trail offers the stunning rock formations of its namesake, and is considered an easy trail. The other hikers-only trail is the nearby Billy Goat Trail, which is considered difficult.

Red Rock Canyon | ©Dennis Rex/Flickr

The Trans-Catalina Trail

Catalina Island, located off the coast of California, offers several hiking trails. The largest is the Trans-Catalina Trail, covering 37.2 miles and stretching across the length of the island. One difficult, yet picturesque trek begins at the Two Harbors campsite. Head south to Silver Peak Trail for the best views, then down over 1,700 feet to Parson’s Landing, a beachside campground. Just eight campsites are available, each accommodating up to six people. The entire trip is about 6.5 miles, and can take anywhere from three to six hours. Of course, that’s just one of several loops and quests a hiker might take on the TCT.

A view of Parsons Landing | ©Chris Hunkeler/Flickr

Caspers Wilderness Park

Caspers Wilderness Park is located in San Juan Capistrano. This pretty park consists of 8,000 acres of valleys, coastal live oaks and California sycamores, wildflowers, and streams. There are numerous trails for hikers, cyclists, and horseback riding, as well as guided nature walks.

Caspers Wilderness Park | ©OCParks_CA/Flickr

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach offers an easy, 3-mile hike through wildlife-filled wetlands. More than 200 species of birds can be found, making it a popular hike for photographers and bird watchers.

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve | ©Tracie Hall/Flickr

Alta Laguna Park

Also known as “Top of the World,” Alta Laguna Park in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is known for its epic vistas. It’s a 2.5-mile round-trip hike for which the reward is unhindered views from all vantage points.

Alta Laguna Park | ©Sergei Gussev/Flick

Holy Jim Trail

The Holy Jim Trail
is 2.8 miles and is considered an easy to moderate hike. The key points of interest here are the area’s creeks and waterfalls. Although just 18 feet high, the falls aren’t that majestic, but are still very pretty. Dogs are allowed, if leashed.

Holy Jim Falls | ©oncetherewasagirl/Flickr

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