THE BEST HIKES IN ORANGE COUNTY

Chris Kwon

01/20/21

Being able to call Orange County home is simply one of those things that just about anyone would take pride in, and, truthfully, it makes a lot of sense. After all, Southern California is commonly touted as one of the most desirable places to live in the entire world, and Orange County is seen as the sought-after area in Southern California. 

But taking pride in being a resident of Orange County could because of many other reasons too! Perhaps it’s the fact that Orange County is ranked as the third healthiest county in America and the fourth-best county in the country for outdoor activities! Maybe, it’s because Orange County has possibly the best public school system in the country. Is it because it’s ranked as the best place in California for families? Who knows! Some people say it’s because Orange County is home to the best weather, beaches, food, and relaxing lifestyle in the world -- but, at this point, we’re just bragging, so we’ll stop now!

At the end of the day, we’re just extremely proud to speak highly of Orange County because of all the great things that it has offered us in return as residents. Whether you live in Irvine or Laguna Beach, Anaheim or Costa Mesa, Lake Forest or Dana Point, or anywhere else in this incredible county, I’m sure you feel the same exact way. 

Though we may be biased, there’s simply no better place to live!

While the beautiful Orange County is known all over for many of the things we listed above, today we’re going to be covering just one of the many reasons that it’s the most sought-after area in the world -- its outdoor activities and, more specifically, the best hiking trails in the entire West Coast.

Let’s dive in and take a look at the five best hiking trails in all of Orange County!

QUAIL HILL LOOP

Quail Hill Loop is the perfect trail for leisure hikers and walkers looking to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery in Irvine’s Open Space Preserve, a natural landmark of California that covers over 5,000 acres. One of the most incredible things about Quail Hill is that you can get a self-guided tour where interpreters will tell you interesting facts and details along the trail if you call 949-743-5943. As far as we know, this is the only trail in Orange County that does such a thing! The trail itself is perfect for people of all experience levels and ages, coming in at an easy 2-mile loop all the way around!

MORO CANYON LOOP

Located in Crystal Cove State Park, the Moro Canyon Loop is a much more difficult trail and is not recommended for beginners or young children. With that being said, it is one of the most rewarding hikes in Orange County, giving you gorgeous views of the coast and surrounding canyons. Along the 5.5-mile-long hike, you’ll likely come across numerous different wildlife, including deer, rabbits, and lizards, as you make your way up the grueling 820-feet of elevation.

SALT CREEK TRAIL

Probably the most popular hike in all of Laguna Niguel, Salt Creek Trail is a fun and easy trail where you can take the entire family, including your dog, on a scenic route that’ll eventually take you down to Salt Creek Beach. Salt Creek Trail is one of the only hikes in Orange County that doesn’t close when it rains because the trail doesn’t go along a dirt pathway but instead pavement. So next time it rains, but you’re still itching to go for a leisure walk or jog, this is undoubtedly the place to go.

ALISO PEAK

Although it’s technically apart of Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Aliso Peak is a trail of its own that isn’t connected to any other pathways inside of the park.

The trail is an extremely popular park all year round with picturesque views throughout and a short distance of just over 1.5-miles all the way around, making it a great hike for the entire family. The best part about the hike is the very end when you finally reach the peak and get to take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific and potentially even whale watch if you go during the right time of the year. At the top, you’ll also find some benches to sit down and relax before heading back down, which is actually the hardest part of this trail. While on most hikes, the strenuous part is going up the trail at Aliso Peak; the hard part is getting back down!

LAS RAMBLAS TRAIL

Las Ramblas Trail, located in San Juan Capistrano’s green hills, is just as charming as the city it’s located in. Whether you’re looking to walk, run, bike, or ride your horse, Las Ramblas Trail has pathways for just about everyone and everything. 

Along the leisurely 4.5-mile path that takes 1,150 feet above sea level, you can expect to see a handful of different wildlife that is as beautiful as the path itself. If you’re looking to catch an angelic sunset, Las Ramblas Trail is without a doubt the hike you’re looking for!

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