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Best Hiking Trails in Orange County

Updated on March 3, 2017

Do you want to spend more time outdoors? Or maybe you’re looking to changeup your workout? Hiking is a great way to catch some sun and exercise. Orange County has many beautiful hiking trails that will get you burning calories while you enjoy some breathtaking views and wildlife.


Fairview Park

Located in Costa Mesa, with 210 acres of open fields, trails, hills and greenery, this is the perfect park for a hike. There are various small trails on the plateau that winds all around beautiful California landscape like large oak trees, grassy fields and native plants. If you follow the bike trails and hiking trails all the way down, you will end up right at the beach.


Upper Newport Bay

With about 752 acres of space, there are a variety of activities to enjoy in the outdoors. Located in Newport Beach, you can go for a hike and enjoy all of the wildlife and greenery that the Newport Bay has to offer. The nature preserve is surrounded by bluffs that contain 3 delicate species. These species are the California Gnatcatcher, San Diego Cactus Wren, and the Burrowing Owl. The bay is also home to 6 rare or endangered species and 1 endangered plant species. Grasslands and coastal sage scrub surround the bluffs. Being one of the largest coastal wetlands in Southern California, the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is one of the best places to bird watch in North America. This is a great place to go for walking, running, hiking, bike riding, and horseback riding.

Talbert Regional Park

Open all year, Talbert Regional Park has about 200 acres of scenic landscape, perfect for Costa Mesa locals and visitors that want to enjoy the outdoors. The preserve acts as a botanical garden, wildlife refuge and excellent recreational facility all in one. Picnic tables at the end of the base of a trail from Fairview Park is where you’ll likely find Costa Mesa locals spending time on the weekends. Talbert Regional Park is located on Victoria Street in Costa Mesa between Pacific Avenue and the Santa Ana River. The park is divided into two sections; the North Nature Preserve is roughly 91.5 acres and the South Nature Preserve is approximately 88.5 acres.

With nine different trails stretching over nearly 3 miles, Talbert Regional Park is one of few preserved open space areas left in Orange County. With only 100 feet in elevation, Talbert’s trails are great for beginner hikers or families with younger children. Hikers can continue through the Nature Center to reach the Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail, which continues on to the Pacific Ocean and nearby Newport Beach.

Buck Gully Preserve

This preserve is located near Newport Beach and is accessible all year round. The trail is a 4.5 miles long and is good for all skill levels. The hikes range from moderate to difficult with multiple inclines throughout the trails. The preserve and trail offer a variety of activities that are available all year long.

Turtle Rock Trail

If you are looking for a more suburban hike, this trail is located in Irvine. From the top of the viewpoint, you get a beautiful view overlooking Costa Mesa, Irvine and, Newport Beach. Most of the trail is concrete but it leads to a dirt path which provides some variation for your hike. The trail is about 2.8 miles long which isn’t too long but that does not mean it doesn’t count as a workout. With an incline and stairs, you are sure to get your aerobics in for the day.

Peters Canyon

Located near the foothills of Irvine and Tustin, this canyon is one of the most popular trails in Orange County. Peters Canyon is open year-round and allows dogs on leashes. There are a good number of hills with views that reach the coast. The distance of the trails is about 6.5 miles. Although located in the middle of a suburban area, the views are not lacking with the San Bernardino mountains in the east and Catalina Island to the southwest.

Top of the World

Top of the World is a popular spot for Orange County locals. This park has a large soccer field, a half basketball court, and a baseball diamond. You can go to the trailhead to start a 2.5 mile hike with amazing views overlooking all of Laguna. You have access to the Aliso and Woods Canyon Wilderness Park right next to the park so you can continue your adventure.

Orange County has many beautiful parks and trails for locals and visitors to appreciate. Now that you have a list of some of the best hiking trails in Orange County, what are you waiting for? Enjoy the workout and the scenery!

For more Orange County events, enjoy Travel Costa Mesa as a vast resource for all your weekend entertainment.

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