All Stories from Orange County

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    Old Towne Orange

    Tour the county’s namesake city via a 2.5-mile hike in El Modena Open Space, followed by a stroll through the charming Old Towne district.

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    Mr. Beek's Mountain Dream

    Beek’s Place in the Santa Ana Mountains is one of those great California shrines to faded dreams, and well worth the thigh-burning 10.5-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to get there.

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    OC Astronomy 101

    A guided full-moon hike of the Mesa Trail loop in Black Star Canyon Wilderness offers access to an area only open to guided tours, safety in numbers, a nifty leg workout, and ... astronomy lessons!

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    Brea Beckoning

    The art-centric town of Brea goes beyond museum walls with an “Art in Public Places” program featuring 183+ outdoor sculptures. Amid these treasures, you’ll find the 8-piece sculptural installation by Laguna Beach–based mosaic tile artist Marlo Bartels. This 2-mile (round-trip…

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    Biking With the Back Bay Birds

    Biking the 10-mile Newport Beach Back Bay Loop Trail is a great way to see the quiet side of Newport Beach—the side that isn’t beach. Instead you’ll ride through 1,000 acres of coastal wetlands known as the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve. Along the way…

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    Peters Canyon East Ridge Loop

    For an inspiring example of a land’s resilience after wildfire, hike the trails Peters Canyon Regional Park in central Orange County.

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    Rob A Peak!

    Great panoramas don’t all require epic hikes. A 3.5-mile (round-trip) trek up to 1,152-foot Robber’s Peak in Santiago Oaks Regional Park gets you gorgeous vistas of Orange County, iconic mountains, and the Pacific. The trail is also bike-, equestrian-, and dog-friendly. According…

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    Seven Bridges Paddleboard Tour

    SoCal has plenty of surprises in its abundance of mountain trails, but there are some other pathways to explore, like those on the Pacific Ocean! For a bounty of aquatic adventure, get out on the self-guided SUP “Seven Bridges Paddleboard Tour” so-named by Weekend Sherpa’s summer…

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    El Moro of the Story

    El Moro Canyon Loop Trail in Crystal Cove State Park offers a leg workout, canyon views, ocean views—and, ta-da!—beach access. The challenging 5-mile (round-trip) loop trail passes through the 2,400-acre Crystal Cove Wilderness backcountry, showcasing the best of Orange County…

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    Dripping History

    Historical hideout, hidden hollow, rustlers’ retreat. Whatever you want to call Dripping Cave in Laguna Nigel, it is truly a cool, compelling cavern. To reach the grandiose grotto, take a 5-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, a 4,50…

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    Right on Target!

    Grip, aim, draw, release: That’s all there is to archery! Not really, but a visit to Orange County Archery in Mission Viejo before or after a nearby hike will put you in a zen-of-archery mood, and maybe recall some summer camp exploits. Your admission fee covers an hour and a…

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    Buck Wild

    Buck Gully Reserve in Newport Beach is right in the middle of the city but feels like a hidden oasis. As the 5.2-mile (round-trip) out-and-back Buck Gully Trail crosses through the reserve, it gains about 440 feet, making it easy to knock out in a couple of post-work hours. This…

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    Bolsa and a Nano Brewery

    Whether you’re a bird nerd or just like beautiful views, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach is a must-do in these parts. Its 1,341 acres of coastal estuary are home to over 200 avian species. Wander the 3.3-mile lollipop loop trail to explore the varying…

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    Electric Company

    With a paved bike trail between the Pacific Ocean and Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach is a cruising paradise. Its namesake bike trail runs along the edge of the beach and through grassy hills and palm tree–lined beach bluffs. Ready to pedal? Try adding a little…

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    You Up for Yorba?

    Skip the overcrowded brunch joints and go al fresco with Mom at Orange County’s Yorba Regional Park. What’s on the menu? Picnic sites, bike trails, lake fun, and more, spread across 140 acres in Santa Ana Canyon. Pack up a picnic basket filled with your outdoorsy mom’s favorite…

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    Anonymous Source

    Hidden in the Cleveland National Forest near Los Pinos Springs is a waterfall so unknown it doesn’t have a name yet and neither does the 2.6-mile (round-trip) out-and-back trail to find it. But the path immediately immerses you in a feeling of wilderness with the peaceful sounds…

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    Little Cool Pool

    “Chiquito” means “little one,” and while Chiquito Falls is no Niagara, the waterfall was actually named for a ranger’s horse, and the 15-foot cascade that tumbles into a secluded wading hole is more than worth the 9-mile lollipop loop hike. From the parking lot, start out going…

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    Whale Watching from Shore

    It’s gray-whale season again! The best way to see our majestic Baja-bound friends is, of course, by boat, but sharp eyes can spot them from shore too. Get in a good hike while admiring this great annual migration. One of the best shorebound spots is the 6-mile (round-trip) Bluff…

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    Arboretum Season

    All is not always calm this time of year, but peace reigns at Fullerton Arboretum, a quiet 26-acre oasis in the middle of urban Orange County. It’s on the campus of Cal State Fullerton, and with most of the campus closed for the holidays, this is the perfect time to take a stroll…

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    A Pirate’s Cave for Me

    The sea caves of Dana Point may not hold any gold or gems (that we know of), but Pirate’s Cave is a treasure in and of itself. This 1.2-mile (round-trip) out-and-back trail along a rocky coastline is only accessible during low tide and threads between towering cliffs and crashing…

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