Spring is here! And with the blooming flowers, rising temperatures, and the rain subsiding, Spring provides the perfect time to go out and enjoy Orange County’s diverse nature and landscapes. And what better way to get out and enjoy this beautiful season than by going out for a hike?
To help you on your journey of getting up close and personal with Orange County’s outdoors, we’ve put together a list of some of the best hiking spots throughout Orange County.
These hikes range in difficulty from “easy” to “difficult” and vary in length, the longest of which is 10 miles, while the shortest is a customizable out-and-back trail, making a perfect set of options for hikers of all levels.
San Clemente Beach Trail
This easy, beachside trail is a great choice if you’d like to stay close to town and amenities. The trail stretches all the way from the North Beach Metro Station parking lot down to Calafia State Beach. The San Clemente Beach Trail is an essentially flat, fairly smooth crushed granite trail that is shared by everyone from walkers and runners to bikers, dogs, and strollers. As a flat out-and-back trail, you are free to make this one as easy or challenging as you like. This makes it particularly beginner-friendly because you can turn around and go back if anyone in your party starts getting too tired.
Length: ~4.6 miles
Colinas Bluff Trail
This trail is a great double-track trail following the Colinas ridge between Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano. Its suburban setting makes it a nice option for those who want terrific 360-degree views from Santiago peak to the ocean and Catalina Island, but also would like the comfort of knowing that there's a Starbucks with a nice patio right by the trailhead. As with the San Clemente Beach Trail, this one is an out-and-back, allowing you to adapt it to any length or difficulty. And though it can be adjusted to any length, the geography of this particular trail offers two great almost-preset lengths: the full 6.7-mile hike or a 4.6-mile appreciated version.
Length: ~6.7 miles (full hike); ~4.6 miles (abbreviated hike)
You will want to go on several easy-to-moderate hikes before embarking on this difficult, beautiful hike to the lovely Chiquito Falls. Make sure to visit San Juan Falls either on the way out or back. If you see shade, we would recommend taking advantage of it and resting for a few minutes, because much of the hike is uncovered. Some might say this trail is not technically located in Orange County; it’s on the OC/Riverside border off of Ortega Highway. But as a beautiful double-waterfall out-and-back trail, we thought it would be a shame not to include.
Length: ~6.8 miles
Sitton Peak Trail
This trail is a moderate 10-mile hike that leads to sweeping views of the ocean and, when the weather is clear enough, Catalina Island. There’s no drinking water along this trail, so bring enough for yourself and your pup, taking into consideration that it’s a round trip. This area has a tendency to get pretty hot during the summer months, and while it’s definitely still doable, you will likely enjoy it in the fall through spring seasons most. And if possible, pick a clear day to hike this trail so you can really appreciate the sweeping views all the way to Catalina. Also, consider bringing a map, because some trail junctions are not well-marked. This is another trail that falls on the OC/Riverside border off of Ortega Highway, so again, not strictly in OC proper.
Length: ~10 miles
We hope you have a blast getting outside to enjoy the fresh Spring air while hiking these beautiful trails throughout Orange County! As an added bonus, all of these hikes are dog-friendly, as long as your pup walks on a leash! Strap up your hiking boots or lace up your tennis shoes, you’re not going to want to miss the sights and experiences of a beautiful springtime hike.