Ready to hike Orange County? As you probably already know there are plenty of Orange County trails & hiking trails in Orange County just waiting to be explored. So the question is, where do you start? Luckily for us, Brian & Ashley are sharing with us 12 of their favorite go-to OC hiking trails for this week’s 12 for Tuesday. Get ready to explore some of the best Orange County hikes.

hike orange countyHike: Orange County

Orange County has some of the best open space and wilderness areas in Southern California. These open space and wilderness areas offer amazing hiking opportunities with great scenery and opportunities to view local wildlife. Best of all, many of the hiking trails in Orange County are perfect for the whole family to do together.  Here is a list of 12 great Family Friendly Hikes in Orange County.

1. Riley Wilderness Park: This park is one of the best locations in Orange County to view local wildlife. It offers sweeping vistas of the country side and has a local nature center to explore.

2. Aliso & Wood Canyon Wilderness Park (Dripping Cave): The main point of interest on this hike is Dripping Cave. Robbers, who would rob local stage coaches going from San Diego to Los Angeles and would use Dripping cave as their hideout to escape capture from law enforcement. When you visit the cave, you can still see the burn marks from their camp fires located on the roof of the cave.

3. Aliso & Wood Canyon Wilderness Park (Pectin Reef Loop): This is a great hike that offers hikers the chance to look for fossils on a prehistoric reef. This is a great short hike for those families’s looking for a shorter adventure.

4. Holy Jim Falls: This is a great outing for the entire family to one of the best known falls in Orange County. Holy Jim Falls is one of the most well known hikes in Orange County and it lives up to its reputation of being one of the best.

5. San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary: This hike is in a nice 300 acre preserve that is connected with the larger Newport Back Bay ecosystem. It offers great opportunities to see local wildlife right next to the urban core of Orange County.

6. Santiago Oaks Regional Park: The hike in this park offers sweeping views of the surrounding terrain. This area is heavily visited by local wildlife and has a historical dam that is worth seeing.

7. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve: This is a perfect hike for the entire family in one of the most beautiful settings in Orange County. There is also a local nature center here to explore.

8. Oso Creek Trail: The hidden gem of Mission Viejo, is the Oso Creek Trail, which runs through the heart of the city and offers visitors many things to look at while on the hike.

9. Flag Hill: This is a hike in the beautiful hills above San Juan Capistrano to an American Flag, in the wilderness, which was erected on a hill in memory of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

10. Irvine Regional Park: This is a hike through the Irvine Regional Park offers great views and the chance to see local wildlife. A visit afterward to the Irvine Zoo is the way to conclude this hike.

11. James Dilley Preserve: This hike, which provides sweeping views to hikers, visits the only natural lakes in Orange County. These natural laws are beautiful and each has a story behind their names.

12. Oak Canyon Nature Center: If you are looking for a great short hike to take the whole family on, this hike through the Anaheim Hills is a great option. They also have an interpretive trail which is very educational as well as a nature center.


Thanks Brian & Ashley – these sound fabulous! For even more Orange County trails, & other hikes in & around Orange County (including lots of kid & family-friendly hiking trails in Orange County be sure to visit Brian & Ashley’s blog.

xoxo, K