Peters Canyon Hike

Peters Canyon Hike

In This Guide
  • Peters Canyon Hike Directions
  • Peters Canyon Trail Maps
  • Getting to Peters Canyon Park
Distance5.9 miles (9.5 km)
Hike Time2:30 Hours (Total)
DifficultyModerate
Total Ascent (?)650 feet (198m)
Highest Elevation683 feet (208m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park ContactPeters 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. It can get very hot in the summer, so bring plenty of water.

Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.

La Sportiva Spire

La Sportiva Spire GTX

Good for light and more hardcore hikes. Feels like a sneaker but protects like a hiking boot.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Rei Flash 22

REI Flash 22 Pack

This is a super-light and comfortable backpack that can hold everything you need on a hike, including a hydration bladder. It also works great as a general backpack or carry-on.

See Colors & Prices

Joby On Triee

Joby Smartphone Tripod

Make your photos stand out by using this lightweight, do-anything tripod. The Joby attaches your smartphone to trees, rocks, whatever you can find on the trail. Folds down compactly too.

See the Joby Options

Don’t waster your money on hiking gear that’s no good, I’ve done that for you already! Full HikingGuy Gear List

* 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 REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Also → Big Sale at REI On Now:

REI SALE

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.
Click To View Map

Peters Canyon Hike Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Here’s what I use to navigate my hikes. I recommend a combination of paper and electronic options with backups.

Gaiagps

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is a planning and navigation tool that you can use on your phone, tablet, and the web. I use it on my phone when I need to interact with the map and know where my position is on it. I use it at home on the computer to plan routes. You can overlay maps such as public lands to find out free places to camp. It’s a powerful tool.

HikingGuy Discount on Gaia GPS

Fenix Nav

Garmin Fenix Watch

This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.

Fenix Prices & Reviews

My In-Depth Review

Topo Map

Topo Maps & Guide Books

Don’t be caught out if your batteries die. Take a topo map with you on the trail. Some people also print my guides out for use on the hike.

I also highly recommend taking a map and compass navigation course. It’s a few hours, it’s fun, and it could save your life.

Map and Compass Navigation Basics Classes

Don’t just rely on a cell phone, especially if you are hiking in the backcountry.

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.

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.