Orange County is home to beautiful trails that offer incredible ocean views to areas you never knew existed in the OC. These trails are a good way to get away from the crazy traffic and overcrowding of Southern California and to see what hidden gems Orange County has waiting to be discovered.
Black Star Canyon to Skyline
Black Star Canyon trailhead is by Irvine Lake and heads up and over to the Skyline trailhead in Corona. This trail is for more advanced runners because it’s an out-and-back trail on a fire road, which goes uphill until you get to the Skyline trailhead.
If you head out Skyline and go down to make it a round trip, it would be about a 24-mile run. If it’s a hot day, be careful because there is no water and very few trees on the trail. There aren’t any bathrooms either. There are a lot of mountain bikers and hikers, but you will rarely see someone running it.
El Morro Canyon
El Morro Canyon is a beautiful run because you can see the ocean pretty much the entire run. It is located up in the hills of Newport Beach, right above Crystal Cove, and overlooks the ocean.
The run is hilly and mostly on road with a few singletrack trails. It’s a loop run that gives you the option to go on either the longer or shorter loop.
These trails give way to many runners and cyclists and also have plenty of bathrooms and water along the way. The ocean breeze provides for a nice reprieve from warmer conditions in the summer and fall.
Carbon Canyon/ Chino Hills State Park
Carbon Canyon is a trail in Chino Hills State Park. It is mainly fire roads with some singletrack trails. It has rolling hills and not that many trees for shade. There is a campground you can run by that will have water and bathrooms.
There are usually other runners and mountain bikers on this trail.
The Aliso Woods Trail is located in Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills. You can access it from both sides of Laguna Hills and in Aliso Viejo.
The trail has beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, which makes it a popular trail for mountain bikers, walkers and hikers.
This trail is a great way to connect to other trails that are located along the beach and has rolling hills with a few steep hills. It’s usually dry, so make sure to bring enough water, especially on hot days.
Holy Jim Trail
Holy Jim Trail is a hilly out-and-back trail with a lot of switchbacks and is located in Trabuco Canyon. You will find plenty of mountain bikers and hikers along this trail.
There are streams along the way and the trail has trees that provide shade and overhead coverage. You will be hiking uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back.
The trail will connect you to the Upper Holy Jim Trail, which will take you to Santiago Peak if you wanted to make your trail run longer. You have to drive off-road in order to get to the trailhead, so plan accordingly.
These are a few of my favorites, but there are many other great trails to explore in Orange County. Get out there and try them out! Happy trails!