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Bommer Canyon Trail Hike Guide

Bommer Canyon Trail Hike Guide

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Bommer Canyon Trail
  • Parking for the Bommer Canyon Trail
  • Insider Hike Tips and Recommendations
Total Distance (?)4.8 miles (7.7 km)
Other Options 2 miles easy and flat
Hike Time2 (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)900 feet (274m)
Highest Elevation1,010 feet (308m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)Bommer Canyon
Park Phone949-724-6835

The Bommer Canyon Trail, a natural oasis nestled within suburbia, offers a little bit of everything. This easy hike showcases natural beauty, has lots of wildlife spotting opportunities, an interesting history, and sweeping vistas as you approach the highest point in the San Joaquin Hills. The full 4.8 mile hike includes some uphill, but if you want to do something easy, I’ll show you an easy 2 mile option that’s flat and great for families. Bommer Canyon is a National Natural Landmark and California’s first Natural Landmark; it’s worth visiting.

Where is the Bommer Canyon Trail?

The main trailhead is in Irvine, CA. Use this address:
6400 Shady Canyon Trail, Irvine, CA 92603

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The entrance can be easy to miss, look for this sign out front.
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The main trailhead parking lot is small and fills up quickly with hikers, locals, and mountain bikers.
Bommer Canyon Overflow Parking
If there’s no parking in the main lot, head down to the Turtle Rock Community Park and then walk up from there.
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You shouldn’t have a problem parking at the Turtle Rock Community Park, the lot is huge. There are also bathrooms here.
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The main trailhead has bathrooms and water fountains.

Gear For the Hike

This is an easy trail where you can get away with fitness clothes or light hiking gear. Good trail shoes will help on the dirt, and trekking poles can help on the steeper climb at the end. Bring 1L of water. It can get hot in the summer; there isn’t any shade.

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.

Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.

Latest Price on Women’s ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

Black Diamond Ergo Poles 2

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.

Latest Price  – REI | Amazon

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 2021.

My September 2021 Top Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Bommer Canyon Trail Maps

Overall the trails are well-marked and well-maintained. Please stay on the trails and respect the signage.

Bommer Canyon Trail Directions 1
Help the park restore the area by staying on the trails and heeding any warnings.
Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Gaiagps

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

Elevation Profile

Bommer Canyon Trail Elevation
Here’s the one-way elevation profile. The main climb is at the end of the hike. If you do the short option to mile 1, the climbing is undetectable.

3D Map

Bommer Canyon Trail 3d Map
You’ll gently ascend Bommer Canyon. Toward the end, you’ll head up to the ridge in the San Joaquin Hills. From there the views are incredible.

Hike Brief

Govenor At Bommer Canyon
Here’s how Arnold Schwarzenegger likes to hike Bommer Canyon, in a suit and tie. Photo LA Times

XX Hike Directions

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Video Directions

Watch This Video In 360/VR Why 360/VR Is Great

Turn by Turn Directions

Bommer Canyon Trail Directions 5
The trailhead is behind the building where the bathrooms are.
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There’s a cool mosaic on the building that you can grab a photo with.
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Head through the gate to start the hike on the Bommer Meadow Trail.
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The trail junctions all have signs that tell you which trail that you’re on.
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The trail meanders up Bommer Canyon, through the old cattle grazing area.
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The trail crosses a bridge.
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And then another.
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When you get to the junction, make the hard right onto the Nature Loop.
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The trail is fenced in to protect the habitat. The park is in the process of removing invasive weeds and plants before introducing native species back to the area.
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The trail gently climbs up Bommer Canyon. Look back for nice views into Angeles National Forest and Mt Badly in the distance.
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As the trail climbs, you’ll also see the 73 Toll Road at the top of Bommer Canyon. If you’re doing the full hike, you’ll be hiking up to that point.
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The trail winds down some switchbacks to a hill and a bridge. Cross the bridge.
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Once across the bridge, follow the trail around an open area.
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You’ll pass the Bommer Nature Garden, which has relics of the old cattle camp inside. It’s open by appointment only
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Head around to the road and cross over if you are doing the full hike.

If you are doing the shorter 2 mile hike, simply go back the way you came from here.

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To continue on the longer hike, cross the road and start the Bommer Pass Trail.
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There’s a small uphill as you loop to the right on the hill.
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From the top of the Bommer Pass Trail, you’ll be able to see the West Fork Trail climbing the hillside in the distance. We’ll be climbing that trail later.
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Bommer Pass Trail heads downhill to its end.
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Go past the East Fork Trail.
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And right after that, make the left onto the West Fork Trail.
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After a short flatter stretch, make the hard left and start hiking uphill. On the right you’ll pass the start of the Turtle Ridge Trail.
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The trail is steep but doable.
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Take breaks to turn around and look back at the incredible views into Bommer Canyon and beyond.
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At the top of the climb, go through the gate.
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Then hike under the 73 Toll Road.
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The trail will loop up to the left as it joins Ridge Park Rd.
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You’ll get sweeping views from Saddleback Mountain to Mt Baldy.
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When you get to the trail junction, make the hard right to the trailhead.
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Here you are, at the top! Check out the trail map, relax, and get ready to head back down.
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There’s a cool trailhead sign here that makes for a good photo.

From here you just return the same way you came up. If you need water or a bathroom, just visit the park across the street. This trailhead is popular spot for local to access Crystal Cove State Park, as there’s no entry fees or PCH traffic.

This guide last updated on March 23, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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