Peters Canyon Hike
|Distance||5.9 miles (9.5 km)|
|Time||2:30 Hours (Total Time)|
|Total Climbing||680 feet (207m)|
|Park Name||Peters Canyon Regional Park|
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.
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.
Gear for the Hike
This is a hike you can do in workout gear or hiking gear. Here’s what I bring:
- Trail runners
- Water in a great daypack
- Sun protection (it can get hot)
My Top Gear Picks
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 Directions
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