Hike This: Peters Canyon Loop
I will be the first to admit that I haven’t scratched the surface of the great hiking and microadventure opportunities in Orange County. In fact, it took nearly 4 years of living in the Tustin/Irvine area before Alex and I made our way to Peters Canyon Regional Park, which is close to where we live. Alex and I decided to head out early on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) to get some dirt on our boots and some fresh air in our lungs.
We did not have a set plan for our hike but knew that we wanted to spend as much time on the trail system as possible so we could see what the different loops offered.
Even though we got an early start, we were not the only ones on the trail. There were other couples, trail runners getting int heir post-turkey workout, and families exploring their “backyard” during the extended weekend. It was nice to see others using the trails and we were all spread out enough that it didn’t feel like it was too crowded.
The photo above was taken from what feels like the highest point of the East Ridge View trail, which is very hilly as you can see (and much to my dismay!). The trails are very well maintained, but as you can see, they are more like fireroads used for recreation than anything else. Good thing the views are nice from the top! On a clear day, you can probably see the ocean just beyond those skyscrapers in the background.
We ended up connecting a few trails: Willow Trail (closed during certain months, keep an eye on the signs in the area), Peters Canyon Trail, East Ridge View Trail (quite the workout!), Eucalyptus Trail, back to the Petters Canyon Trail, down to the Creek Trail, back to Peters Canyon Trail, Lake View Trail, Skylark Trail, and back to Lake View Trail to the parking lot.
Before you head out, make sure to have plenty of water, a hat (it’s pretty exposed, I forgot a hat and regretted it immensely), and an idea of what loop you would like to tackle that day. Alex made sure to save a copy of the park map to his phone, which helped us decide which loops to take…if only the map told me which routes lead to really steep hills!
If you live in the area and are interested in taking your workout from the gym to the outdoors (at least while the weather is great!), Peters Canyon Regional Park is an awesome break from the treadmill. Like I said, there were plenty of people on the trails: runners, couples, families with small children, and groups of friends getting some fresh air. It’s your turn to join the fun and hit the trail!
There is a pay lot available for $3 per vehicle but some park users find free street parking on the opposite side of the park. OC Parks does a good job of having ample signage throughout the park to keep hikers and other park users on track.