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This Peters Canyon hike takes you on a 6 mile tour of the 340-acre Peters Canyon Park. The hike offers panoramic views and wildlife spotting opportunities, right in the middle of Orange County.
5.9 miles (9.5 km)
Peters Canyon Hike Trail Maps
Use this address in Google Maps to get to the trailhead:
8548 E. Canyon View Ave., Orange, CA, 92869, USA
Peters Canyon Regional Park is in Orange, right by Tustin. It's central in Orange County, and 20 minutes east of John Wayne Airport.
The hike covers the entire park, which is wedged nicely in between a residential area. Peters Canyon is really an oasis within suburbia.
There's one really steep hill, and then the rest of the hike is pretty gradual up and down.
Interactive Map Peters Canyon Hike Map Downloads Gear for the Peters Canyon Hike The best hydration daypack out there. The CamelBak Fourteener has been perfect on hikes of all distances (including Mt Whitney and Cactus to Clouds). It's light, has plenty of room for super-food snacks, extra layers, hiking gear, and comes with a 3 liter water bladder. I also like the raised sweat pads on the back that keep your back dry. It's the perfect blend of high-tech, durability, and simplicity. I've got hundreds of hours on it and still love it. CamelBak Fourteener Reviews My favorite hiking boot of all time. The La Sportiva Synthesis (for men and women) are waterproof, super-light, have incredible grip, and won a Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Award ( my review here). I've gone through a lot of boots and these are my favorite. They feel like comfortable sneakers with the protection of hiking boots. La Sportiva Hiking Boot Reviews Don't hike without this in your backpack. It's a GPS emergency beacon and can save your life ( more on that here). On the trail, you're often out of cell phone range, and even something as simple as a twisted ankle could become a life and death situation. This beacon works where cell phones don't and is the size of a fist. Just press a button and help is on the way. Your life is worth every penny. ACR GPS Beacon Reviews For my complete gear list and survival kit contents, check out my post on the modern hiking essentials here. I'd also recommend taking a quick look at the Every day they mark down great quality hiking gear, fitness gear, and clothing. Pick up an inexpensive lifetime REI Outlet site. REI Membership for an extra 10% off. Peters Canyon Hike Directions What to Expect Peters Canyon Regional Park has a colorful history. Before it became a park in 1992, it was eucalyptus grove, a golf course, an army base, and a Boy Scout camp. The Peters Canyon hike 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. 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. There’s a small fee to park. Print a ticket out at the kiosks in the parking lot, and leave it on your dashboard. Turn by Turn Directions 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. 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. From the end of the parking lot, hike to the left. There are bathrooms here. You’ll hike on the trail around the parking lot. Keep hiking to the right. The trail goes along the road, keep hiking straight. Check out the road runner crossing the trail in the picture. 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. The shortcut I just mentioned is closed for half the year. Avoid touching plants. You’re in poison oak country. At the corner, hike through the gate to the right. At about 0.4 miles, after hiking through the gate, hike to the right. If it’s a drought year, the reservoir might be empty. The park has good signs explaining various aspects of the park and ecology. At about 0.8 miles, you’ll arrive at a big trail intersection. Hike to the left up the hill. Follow the sign for East Ridge View Trail. It’s a tough little climb up, but the views are worth it. 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. What a great bench to enjoy the view at the summit. Catch your breath and enjoy the views. Continue hiking down the hill, and at 1.3 miles, hike to the left at the bottom. After the last turn, hike the next quick left. At about 1.8 miles, the East Ridge View Trail intersects another trail. Keep hiking straight. At 2.4 miles, you’ll reach the end of the East Ridge View Trail. Hike right onto the Eucalyptus Trail. You’ll see trail markers for the Eucalyptus Trail. Keep hiking straight. 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. Continue hiking up Peters Canyon Trail. At about 3.2 miles, continue through the trail junction. Immediately after that last junction, hike to the left onto the Creek Trail. The Creek Trail is nice and shady. Keep your eyes peeled for animals that come to the water for a drink. A 3.5 miles, the Creek Trail ends at Peters Canyon Trail. Hike to the left. Continue straight on Peters Canyon Trail as other trails split off. At 4 miles, continue hiking straight through the intersection. 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. Hike past the dam, and head to the smaller trail on the left. When you start the climb, there’s a trail to the left, continue hiking up the hill to the right. At 4.4 miles, you reach the top of the climb. Hike to the left. The trail goes down along the edge of Peters Canyon park. Keep hiking on the trail. At 4.6 miles, hike to the right onto Cactus Point Trail. 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. At the end of Cactus Point Trail, hike to the right. At about 5.2 miles, keep hiking right on the Lake View Trail. At 5.4, keep hiking right on the Lake View Trail. Again, keep hiking to the right and avoid trails to the left. The trail follows the road again. You’re almost there. You just finished the Peters Canyon hike, congratulations! Put your map back in the box so others can enjoy the park. Hope you had fun on the hike! Be sure to check out my other hikes in Orange County. An easy way to give back is to simply pick up any trash you see on the trail. A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.
There’s a few Whiting Ranch hiking options, but Red Rock Canyon is the most popular for a good reason. The hike is mellow, easy, and ends in a smooth red rock canyon like you’d see in Arizona (but unique to Orange County).
If you are not a hiking pro, this is where to start. Learning how to hike safely can mean the difference between a fun day outdoors or the hike from hell. This article will get you hiking in the right direction.
The 10 hiking essentials are the recommended key survival tools that hikers should bring with them on every hike. The original 10 essentials date back the 1930s. Here’s my take on the modern hiking essentials and how to use them.
I’m Hiking Guy, aka Cris Hazzard. I like to get outdoors, walk, and then write about it. It wasn’t always like that though.
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