A weekend adventure along the Ortega Highway feels like a romantic road trip, even if you aren’t driving far. The road twists and turns and reveals breathtaking views and charming stops as you head toward a hike in Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park in the Santa Ana Mountains. Put on awesome tunes, roll the windows down, and head out for the most unique Valentine’s Day yet!
To make your outing extra sweet, stop at the Ortega Country Cottage Candy Store & Gift Shoppe, 12 miles east of the park. The handmade candies are delicious. Pro tip: If you call ahead, they will custom-make your sweets and write the name of your sweetie on the candy of your choice!
Caspers Park is filled with miles of hiking and equestrian trails that wind through groves of oaks and sycamores, ending with panoramic views of the Santa Ana Mountains and Orange County. For great variety on a relaxing stroll, try the Nature Trail Loop and the Quail Run Trail, for roughly 2 miles of hiking. There’s plenty of picnic areas throughout the park … maybe that’s where you surprise your paramour with personalized sweets … you big sweetheart.
The Ortega Hwy. (CA-74) connects Lake Elsinore on the I-15 with San Juan Capistrano on the I-5. The Ortega Country Cottage Candy Store & Gift Shoppe is 12 miles west of I-15 and 19 miles east of I-5. Call the store at 888-816-5833 if you want to order custom candies. Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park is 24.5 miles west of I-15 and 7.5 miles east of I-5. The park is open from 7 a.m. to sunset. Vehicle entry fee is $3 on weekdays, $5 on weekends. No dogs allowed in the park.