North Orange County Hiking Spots For The Family


orange county hiking spotsIf you’re anything like my family, we want to get outdoors, but are sometimes unsure where to start with hikes since we are very used to suburbia. Thanks to a few great suggestions from friends, here is a compilation of some great, easy North Orange County hiking spots to do with kids.

Whiting Ranch at Red Rock Canyon (4.2 miles)

Located in Lake Forest, Whiting Ranch has several options for hikes, but the most popular is Red Rock Canyon. This hike is easy and ends in a smooth red rock canyon like you’d see in
Arizona. Filled with wildlife, this trail is great to hike around sunset. If not at sunset, get there early, since this is a popular hiking place. Caution, since you’re experiencing nature and there is wildlife present, be prepared to see mountain lions. 

Parking: Pay at the kiosk in the lot and leave the receipt on your dashboard. 

For more information, click here.

Carbon Canyon Nature Trail (about 2.5 miles round trip hike)

Did you know that we have our very own Redwood tree grove in Orange County? I didn’t either until a few years ago. Once I did the hike, I was blown away at the beauty in our very own backyard. No need to go to Northern California to get the smell of the Redwood trees. This is a mild hike from the parking lot, with no steep hills.

Parking: There is a fee to park, so make sure to check for current rates.

For more information and directions to the park, click here.

Peters Canyon Trails (6 miles around)

If you’re looking for nature that has some man-made influences, Peters Canyon gives you the best of both worlds. Hike as little or as much as you’d like, but check for updated signage and closed trails due to fire damage from the Canyon Fire 2 that spread throughout the park. These trails are great for mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians, and you can plan ahead with a map from their website. 

Be prepared to see wildlife, especially if the Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir is full.

Parking: $3; there is a machine that accepts Visa/Master Card, dollar bills or quarters.

For more information and updated hiking trail availability, click here.

El Cajon Trail (4 miles)

Traversing through the city of Yorba Linda, this mild trail takes you past the Richard Nixon Library and Hurless Barton Park/Yorba Linda Community Center. Equestrians, hikers, and bikers can all use this trail, so be sure to share the pathway. Also to note, at one point on the trail there is a little free library that a neighbor placed along the trail between Prospect and El Cajon, and inspirational Kindness Rocks have been known to turn up along the trail route. 

Parking: Residential parking for certain entry points. If you start by the Nixon Library, you may want to park across Yorba Linda Blvd. or start at the Yorba Linda Community Center with parking availability as well. 

For more information,, click here

Bud Turner Trail (1.84 miles)

Easy to hike, but be prepared to share the trail with equestrians. This trail is named after a former president of the Fullerton Recreation Riders, and was influential in the development of Fullerton’s equestrian center. There are some hills, and make sure to keep your footing so you don’t slip and fall when jogging the trail. 

Parking: Along the street at Laguna Lake Park.

For more information, click here.


Did I miss your favorite hike? If so, comment below and let us know of other great options to explore. The more, the merrier!


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Heather Moulden
Heather Moulden loves all things Orange County. Heather met her husband of 10+ years at Canyon High School and graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a B.A. degree in Communications. These days Heather juggles being a Realtor® in North OC, and keeping the family bonds tight. She has two wonderful, school-aged children who fill her days full of joy. She is active in the community, at church and makes her friendships a priority. (Because as we mamas know, friendships are important!) Some of Heather’s favorite things include staying active in the gym, finding new ways to cook healthy food and keeping up with current home design trends. Heather is happy to be a contributor to Anaheim Mom’s Blog because she has also been passionate about writing since she was five, where she used to create fake magazines with high fashion and intriguing articles.


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