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Hikes in Orange County

Hikes in Orange County



My favorite thing about Orange County is that there are so many hikes to explore and there’s a little bit of something for everyone to see. As an Orange County native, I am here to provide you my top favorites that I personally think are great to start off with.  Whether you are looking for a great trail with a view of the ocean, a nice waterfall, or something rocky, I will be your guide! 


1. Aliso Peak via Valido Trail

This is by far my favorite trail if you are looking for a rewarding trail with a great legs and glutes workout. It is ~1mile out and back trail that is located in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park near Laguna Niguel. It starts off in a residential area and gets more secluded.  The trail has a steep climb that eventually leads you to a sweeping view of the ocean. You’ll find picnic tables on the side of the trail where you can rest to have a snack or catch your breath. At the top, there is a small bench for you to sit and enjoy the ocean breeze or take Instagram-worthy pictures. You’ll be close enough to the ocean where you can see and hear the sound of crashing waves yet high enough for a sweeping view of the coastline. Note that this trail can be very foggy on gloomy days. If you so choose to do this hike in the spring, you’ll be welcomed by an amazing view of blooming wildflowers. And if 1 mile of legs and glutes workout is not enough for you, there are many other trails nearby for you to explore. 


2. Blackstar Canyon 

This trail is rather difficult but it features an amazing view of a waterfall, especially after heavy rain. I would recommend hiking this trail during the spring as it can be rather dry in the summer and early fall. The trail starts off with 2 miles of walking on a large flat fire road before reaching a sign that marks the entrance to Black Star Falls. The path continues by following Black Star Creek towards the waterfall. Prepare yourself for an Indian Jones-esque journey where you’ll have to climb and maneuver between large boulders while maintaining balance on very slippery rocks. At the end, you’ll be greeted by either trickles of water or an actual waterfall depending on the season. And if you are daring enough, there is an additional climb up some ropes for a grand view of the trail. 


3. Borrego Canyon Trail to Red Rock Canyon Trail

I would rate this trail easy to moderate, but is quite rewarding when you get to the end.  It’s about a 4 mile hike out and back with a small elevation gain. The trail starts off as Borrego Canyon Trail, which eventually leads you to Red Rock Canyon Trail. Borrego Canyon Trail is open to hikers, pedestrians, cyclists and horseback riders so you might share the trail with many others on a crowded day. Red Rock Canyon Trail is open to hikers only so there’s no need to worry about horse poop or cyclists coming your way. The trail ends when you reach the canyon with an assortment of red-ish rocks. At the end of this trail, you can either be a professional rock stacker, rock climber (but not really b/c there might be a ranger that blocks you from climbing up), or an instagram model! 


These are my 3 top favorite hikes here in OC. If you have any questions or want to share your own personal favorites, feel free to DM or e-mail me :). Happy hiking! 




Thank you! 


Oanh Duong

Optometry Student

Class of 2023

Southern California College of Optometry

Marshall B. Ketchum University 

2575 Yorba Linda Blvd. | Fullerton, CA 92831-1699 |

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