As you probably already know there are plenty of Orange County trails & hiking trails in Orange County just waiting to be explored. But maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed, or perhaps you’re just not sure where to start. Luckily for us, Brian & Ashley are sharing one of their favorite Orange County hiking destinations – Riley Wilderness Park.

Riley Wilderness Parks is one of the true Gems in Orange County and is a perfect hiking destination for the whole family to go hiking. Although it is a small wilderness park, it packs a mighty punch in terms of views, wildlife, and terrain. It is Ashley and I’s favorite local wilderness park.

 Riley Wilderness Park is a wildlife sanctuary and as a wildlife sanctuary, it is home to an abundant number of native plants and animal life. Old groves of Western Sycamores and Coast Live Oaks border the park’s two seasonally flowing creeks. The remaining land features rolling hills and canyons of Coastal Sage Scrub and grasslands.

We have always seen deer when we have visited this park and have had the chance to see coyotes, foxes, tarantulas, skunks, and snakes when hiking here. If you are a wildlife enthusiast then Riley Wilderness Park is for you. Make sure to bring your camera!

The best thing about Riley Wilderness Park is the entire family can visit together, as there are only a total of 5 miles of trails in the roughly 500 acres of wilderness. Additionally, on the weekends, they have a neat interpretive center that is open to the public free of charge and the outdoor butterfly garden is always a hit.

One of the great things about Riley Wilderness Park is you can make your hike as long or as short as you want since there are only 5 miles of trails. However to best see the variety of terrain in Riley Wilderness Park we recommend a 3.5 mile loop that goes through the entire park. You can find our trail write-up for this 3.5 mile loop here.


Thanks Brian & Ashley! 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 where they provide detailed write-ups of the trails in Orange County and beyond. Happy Trails!

xoxo, K

ps. If you’re looking for even more ideas for outdoor play, we have lots of ideas.