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Limestone Canyon Regional Park The Sinks Featured
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Hikes In and Around Orange County

Limestone Canyon Regional Park - The Sinks

  • 9 miles - Moderate Effort
  • 3-4 Hours (Total)
  • Not Often Hiked
  • 850 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 1,475 feet
  • No Dogs Allowed

Limestone Canyon Regional Park is an incredibly beautiful area to hike, but it's also home to a famous area called "The Sinks," also known as "the little Grand Canyon of Orange County." Limestone Canyon is not always open to the public, but this easy trail guide will show you how to visit and see The Sinks for yourself.

In this Guide:
  • How to Access Limestone Canyon Regional Park
  • Video and Directions to The Sinks
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations

Where is Limestone Canyon Regional Park?

Limestone Canyon Place Map
Limestone Canyon Regional Park is located in Orange County, CA, in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.

Before visiting Limestone Canyon Regional Park, you must register for an open event.

Limestone Canyon Regional Park Ranger Display
You'll be able to see lots more on a docent-led group hike. They point out animals, plant species, fossils, bones, and anything else interesting. They'll also be there to answer any questions.

Gear Recommendations

When you pick your activity from the website, it will list how much water to bring, what type of shoes to wear, etc. You'll generally want hiking gear or fitness clothing and plenty of water. Summers and falls can be hot, while winter and spring can be lush and cool.

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can also send non-emergency texts to just say that you're late, let friends and family follow along, and check the weather. You can see my review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The wide toe box means no blisters, an aggressive tread is great on the trail, it dries very quickly, and it has lots of cushion for long days. It combines everything I love about every other shoe into one.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProThese watches are pricey, but I use them 24/7 for sleep tracking, workouts, heart rate, and tracking my hike. It has preloaded hiking maps that help me navigate the trails and is a backup to my smartphone navigation. The Epix Pro has a great battery life, a screen similar to an Apple Watch Ultra, and works in harsh conditions when just using the buttons. See my review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26This updated version of the Hikelite 26 offers incredible value for the money. It's got a wide trampoline back, so your back doesn't get sweaty. It's under 2lbs, has deep side pockets, and is a great balance of what you need without what you don't.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated May 2024)

The Sinks Trail Map

Limestone Canyon Trail Sign
Limestone Canyon is well-marked, with trail signs at all the trail junctions.

If you go on a general open day, I recommend hiking to The Sinks, aka the Mini-Grand Canyon, the main attraction. This guide has directions for that hike. There are many more trails and you could include others to choose your own adventure as well.

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Limestone Canyon Trail Closed
Under certain circumstances, some trails can closed. Please print the map at home or save it to your phone before leaving. Cell reception in the park is spotty.

The Sinks Hike Directions

The Sinks Hike Directions 2
From the Augustine Staging area, start hiking down the Limestone Canyon Trail.
The Sinks Hike Directions 3
Follow the wide old ranching road.
Limestone Canyon Historic
This area was used for cattle grazing from the 1800s until 2010 when it was turned into a park. This photo, with Saddleback Mountain in the background, is from 1892.
The Sinks Hike Directions 4
At about 2.2 miles, make the left onto the Raptor Trail and do a short climb.
Limestone Canyon Rehab
From the climb, there are nice views into Limestone Canyon. The area is actively being restored to its native habitat after being grazed by cattle for over 100 years.
The Sinks Hike Directions 5
When you reach the junction with Limestone Ridge Trail, make the right.
The Sinks Hike Directions 6
The Limestone Ridge Trail offers epic views into Limestone Canyon and into the Santa Ana Mountains.
The Sinks Hike Directions 7
Avoid any side trails and stay straight on Limestone Ridge.
The Sinks Hike Directions 8
At around 4 miles you'll get views into The Sinks on your right.
The Sinks Hike Directions 9
And at about 4.4 miles, look for the trail on the right up to the East Sinks Viewing Area.
The Sinks Hike Directions 1
Once on the platform, you'll have panoramic views of The Sinks.
Limestone Canyon Regional Park The Sinks Featured
The Sinks were formed by erosion and are between 20-40 million years old.

Need More Info?

  • Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.