Peters Canyon Hike

Peters Canyon Hike

Distance5.9 miles (9.5 km)
Time2:30 Hours (Total Time)
DifficultyModerate
Total Climbing680 feet (207m)
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park NamePeters Canyon Regional Park
Park Phone714-973-6611

This hike through Peters Canyon Regional Park is one of the most popular hikes in Orange County for good reason. The hike has everything: well-mantained trails, climbs and flats, panoramic views, and wildlife spotting opportunities. This Peters Canyon hike takes you on a very-doable 2:30 hour loop of the park. Lots of side trails offer opportunities to make it shorter if you’d like.

The 340-acre Peters Canyon Regional Park has an interesting history. The lake in the park was once a reservoir that was used to irrigate James Irvine’s orange groves, and now drains out to Upper Newport Bay.  In 1899 one of the first golf clubs in Orange County was built here.  During World War II there was an Army base here, and after he war the Boy Scouts took it over. In 1992 the area became an Orange County park when the Irvine Company donated the land for public use.

Peters Canyon History
When the Boy Scouts ran the area it was called Camp Myford. Today the trails look remarkably similar to what you see in the picture from 1952. Photo Orange County Archives

Today Peters Canyon Regional Park is popular with hikers, exercisers, horses, and mountain bikers. Be considerate, keep your eyes open, and share the trail.

If California is in a draught, the Upper Peters Canyon reservoir will likely be dry. Don’t let that stop you, this is still a great hike. If there’s water in the reservoir, expect even more wildlife around. I’ve seen mule deer, coyotes, rattlesnakes, and tons of birds here.

Where is Peters Canyon Regional Park?

Use this trailhead address: 8548 E. Canyon View Ave, Orange, CA 92869.

This hike guide starts in the main parking lot (on the north side), which has plenty of room and bathrooms, but also a small fee. There are other areas where you can park on the street and access the park if you want to save the fee.

There’s a small fee to park. Print a ticket out at the kiosks in the parking lot, and leave it on your dashboard.

Peters Canyon Hike parking
The address for the hike is the park entrance on the north side of the park. Use the solar meters to pay with cash or credit cards, and leave the receipt on your dashboard. Make your way to the far end of the parking lot.

Gear for the Hike

This is a hike you can do in workout gear or hiking gear. Here’s what I bring:

My Top Gear Picks

Garmin inreach review

Do you have the right hiking gear? Will it stand up to the test? I waste lots of money testing hiking gear every year so that you don’t have to. My gear picks are solid choices that will serve you well on the trail. I don’t do sponsored or paid reviews, I just the share actual gear that I use all the time that’s made the cut. Here are my top picks:

  1. Garmin InReach Mini Emergency Beacon – Hiking out of cell phone range? Make sure you have one of these two-way satellite texting devices in case your hike doesn’t go as planned. You can read my full review here.
  2. Injinji Sock Liners With Darn Tough Hiking Socks – This combo is a great way to avoid blisters out on the trail. I have some insider-hiking tips for avoiding blisters here. Pair them with modern, high-tech hiking boots (for women and men) and your feet with thank you.
  3. Garmin Fenix 5x Plus – It’s a little pricey, but man do I love this thing. Not only does it have all the topo maps and navigation tools on my wrist, but it also acts as a long battery life, rugged, outdoors version of an Apple Watch. Track your workouts, sleep, heart rate, all that stuff.

I have lots of other great, sponsor-free, trail tested gear picks on my “best gear” page.

See My Full Gear List

Peters Canyon Hike Trail Maps

There are usually official Peters Canyon hiking trail maps at the trailhead, and you can also print one out here. If you want to do a shorter hike, the map will give you plenty of hiking options, otherwise my guide and maps will do the trick.

Peters Canyon Hike maps
There are free hiking maps at the hiking board. Take one in case you get lost. Keep it in good shape and return it when you’re done.

Fenix 5x Hiking Review

I highly recommend bringing a good paper map with you, and then using it in conjunction with a GPS device. You can see the navigation gear that I use here (I’m currently using the Fenix 5x Plus and love it). Just download the GPX file below and load it onto your GPS.

Many people also print out this web page for the turn-by-turn images. And if you really want to get tricky, YouTube Premium lets you download videos for offline use, so you can download the hike video and save it.

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Peters Canyon Hike 3d map
The hike covers the entire park, which is wedged nicely in between a residential area. Peters Canyon is really an oasis within suburbia.
Peters Canyon Hike elevation
There’s one really steep hill, and then the rest of the hike is pretty gradual up and down.

Peters Canyon Hike Directions

Peters Canyon Hike bathrooms
From the end of the parking lot, hike to the left. There are bathrooms here.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
You’ll hike on the trail around the parking lot. Keep hiking to the right.
road runner on Peters Canyon Hike
The trail goes along the road, keep hiking straight. Check out the road runner crossing the trail in the picture.
Peters Canyon Hike shortcut
Skip the shortcut through the bird area to the right at 0.2 miles. You could see some birds and snakes around here, keep your eyes open.
Peters Canyon Hike sign
The shortcut I just mentioned is closed for half the year.
poison oak sign
Avoid touching plants. You’re in poison oak country.
Peters Canyon Hike gate
At the corner, hike through the gate to the right.
Peters Canyon Hike right turn
At about 0.4 miles, after hiking through the gate, hike to the right.
reservoir sign
If it’s a drought year, the reservoir might be empty. The park has good signs explaining various aspects of the park and ecology.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
At about 0.8 miles, you’ll arrive at a big trail intersection. Hike to the left up the hill.
 East Ridge View Trail sign
Follow the sign for East Ridge View Trail.
Peters Canyon Hike views
It’s a tough little climb up, but the views are worth it.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
At about 1 mile, you’ll reach the summit. Climb to the top of the concrete tower for an even better view, then continue hiking to the left.
Peters Canyon Hike bench
What a great bench to enjoy the view at the summit.
Peters Canyon Hike views
Catch your breath and enjoy the views.
Peters Canyon Hike trail goes left
Continue hiking down the hill, and at 1.3 miles, hike to the left at the bottom.
Peters Canyon Hike trail goes left
After the last turn, hike the next quick left.
Peters Canyon Hike trail intersection
At about 1.8 miles, the East Ridge View Trail intersects another trail. Keep hiking straight.
Eucalyptus Trail
At 2.4 miles, you’ll reach the end of the East Ridge View Trail. Hike right onto the Eucalyptus Trail.
Eucalyptus Trail marker
You’ll see trail markers for the Eucalyptus Trail. Keep hiking straight.
Peters Canyon Trail bathrooms
As the Eucalyptus Trail ends around 2.7 miles, hike to the left on the Peters Canyon Trail. This is also the place for a bathroom break.
Peters Canyon Hike trail junction
Continue hiking up Peters Canyon Trail. At about 3.2 miles, continue through the trail junction.
Creek Trail
Immediately after that last junction, hike to the left onto the Creek Trail.
Creek Trail
The Creek Trail is nice and shady. Keep your eyes peeled for animals that come to the water for a drink.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
A 3.5 miles, the Creek Trail ends at Peters Canyon Trail. Hike to the left.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
Continue straight on Peters Canyon Trail as other trails split off.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
At 4 miles, continue hiking straight through the intersection.
Lake View Trail
At 4.1 miles, you’ll come back to the intersection you were at earlier, before the steep climb. Make the left onto the Lake View Trail.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
Hike past the dam, and head to the smaller trail on the left.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
When you start the climb, there’s a trail to the left, continue hiking up the hill to the right.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
At 4.4 miles, you reach the top of the climb. Hike to the left.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
The trail goes down along the edge of Peters Canyon park. Keep hiking on the trail.
Cactus Point Trail
At 4.6 miles, hike to the right onto Cactus Point Trail.
eters Canyon reservoir
On this day, Peters Canyon reservoir was dry from the drought. If there’s water, you’ll get nice lake views and wildlife spotting opportunities.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
At the end of Cactus Point Trail, hike to the right.
Lake View Trail
At about 5.2 miles, keep hiking right on the Lake View Trail.
Lake View Trail
At 5.4, keep hiking right on the Lake View Trail.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
Again, keep hiking to the right and avoid trails to the left.
Peters Canyon Hike trail
The trail follows the road again. You’re almost there.
map box
You just finished the Peters Canyon hike, congratulations! Put your map back in the box so others can enjoy the park.
cris hazzard on Peters Canyon Hike
Hope you had fun on the hike! Be sure to check out my other hikes in Orange County.

Was This Guide Helpful?

It’s easy to help support this site (which I use to offset website hosting costs, etc.). Simply click on a link below to buy anything from REI or Amazon. I get a small percentage and you don’t pay anything extra.

Support With REI

Support With Amazon

You can also make a donation if you’d like, but please don’t feel obligated to do so.

The content on this site will always be free for everyone to enjoy.

And you can help other hikers as well. If you do this hike and something has changed, snap a few photos and send me the details. I’ll update the guide so that others can do the hike safely.

You May Also Enjoy

Orange County Hiking