Peters Canyon Regional Park
8548 E. Canyon View Ave. Orange, CA 92869
(714) 973-6611 or (714) 973-6612
In Vermont, the middle of October is marked by leaves changing color, crisp air and dropping temperatures. However, here in southern California the forecast for the next week is sunny, sunny, sunny.
I was feeling a bit homesick this weekend missing the gorgeous foliage in the mountains of my hometown, so I decided to get out and find somewhere to hike close by that possibly had a hint of fall. Peters Canyon Regional Park is close to campus and has multiple hiking and jogging trails. Even though it was a bit dry and dusty, my hike was much needed and a great way to catch a break from the Orange suburbs.
Peters Canyon Regional Park offers many different trails with varying difficulty and terrain for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. The park has maps you can find on the bulletin boards near the trail entrances (there is also one online that I was able to pull up on my phone when I got lost during my hike).
At the north park entrance there are two trails you can start from: Lake View Trail or Peters Canyon Trail. They aren’t marked well but I took the trail to the right of the parking lot, which I later found out was Lake View Trail.
This trail is moderate in difficulty and has some sections that are narrower and steep, but it was still a reasonably easy trail. I got a little lost when the Lake View trail intersected with Peters Canyon Trail and I accidentally walked Peters Canyon almost all the way to the south entrance on (at the opposite end of the main park entrance). Peters Canyon Trail was different than Lake View and seemed to be easier. The majority of it is flat and very wide so there’s space for mountain bikers, horse riders and pedestrians.
On the way back to the entrance I took an unexpected trip up Scout Trail to East Ridge View Trail, the most difficult trail in the park. Most of East Ridge View Trail goes up and over hills and is above the rest of the park so there are many opportunities for amazing views. Instead of taking that trail all the way back, I went down Gnatcatcher Trail back to Peters Canyon Trail.
As I returned to the intersection of Lake View and Peters Canyon, there was a picnic table and some benches under Californian pepper trees. This was a perfect place to relax and sit in the shade and drink some water. On the way back, I found a small shortcut off of Peters Canyon Trail called Willow Trail that curves through the trees and allows you to avoid the bit of Peters Canyon that is close to the road.
On the narrower or curvier trails, watch out for mountain bikers, although they should be aware of pedestrians. They can come around the bend unexpectedly and at high speeds.
On the park map there is a reservoir shown, however it is currently dried up because of the drought. Unfortunately, most of the other flora at the park is dried up as well and the trails are very dusty. According to the park’s website the lake used to regulate other water sources, but now it is used as a flood control basin.
- $3 parking fee for the day
- Park Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset
- May be closed for up to three days after rain
- Things to watch out for: mountain lions, rattlesnakes, poison oak and rugged terrain
- Speed limit for bikers and horseback riders: 10 mph