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Regional Parks in Orange County, California

 
 
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Carbon Canyon Regional Park 
 
 
The city is fast encroaching, but this is still somewhat isolated up in the hills above Orange County. The park itself is similar to Yorba Regional Park, but if you head east from the parking lot with your bike, you'll find miles of fireroad bike trails from beginner to advanced. If you ride long enough, you'll find yourself at Prado Regional Park in Riverside County. During the wetter months, there are a number of small streams to ford. Take the family and enjoy a picnic by a pond under the trees. "With its wild and rugged canyon terrain and full selection of recreational activities, including hiking and equestrian trails, this park seems miles away from civilization.... Carbon Canyon Regional Park consists of 124 acres. Sixty are developed and of the remaining acreage, a ten acre grove of Coastal Redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) has been established. Throughout the developed park are Pepper trees, Sycamores, Eucalyptus and Pines."  Brea
Clark Regional Park 
 
 
"An excellent choice for a picnic, fishing or a game of tennis. Be sure to visit the interpretive center where fossils of prehistoric plants and animals, which once inhabited Orange County, are on exhibit.... Ralph B. Clark Regional Park is nestled at the foot of the Coyote Hills. The 105 acre property extends north and south of Rosecrans Avenue with the softball complex. The park lands range from large open grass areas, to gently rolling hills of native plants, to shear sandstone cliffs to the north."  Buena Park
Craig Regional Park 
 
 
"Conveniently located near the 57 Freeway, but isolated from the outside world, this haven of rolling green slopes, beautiful trees and sparkling water is an island of tranquility where least expected.... Craig Regional Park is characterized by rolling hills, ball diamonds, open space, and a formal rose garden. This unique landscape contributes to an overall sense of serenity and beauty. A variety of trees are interspersed throughout the park's 124 acres providing abundant shade. "  Fullerton
Featherly Regional Park 
 
 
Near the top of the Santa Ana River Bike Trail, Featherly is a great tree covered park - ideal for a picnic after the long ride up the bike trail. Has campsites. "Surrounded by the serenity of Santa Ana Canyon, this park’s camping sites for families and youth groups offer an attractive weekend trip or mini-vacation alternative.... A stately grove of mature Cottonwood and Sycamore trees and the Santa Ana River create the setting for the beautiful Featherly Regional Park. Among the park's other assets is a natural riparian wilderness area, wide open spaces, planted turf areas and a wide variety of ornamental trees. The Santa Ana River flows through the park, encouraging a variety of plant and animal life. "  Anaheim
Irvine Regional Park 
 
 
NO - THIS IS NOT IN IRVINE! It's in the hills over Orange. It is named after James Irvine, who donated the park in 1897. One of our favorite haunts, it boasts miles of paved & unpaved road, sidewalk & trail, pony rides, miniature railroad rides, paddleboat rentals, and a slew of playgrounds. Trails take you up into the hills, by the resevoir, and eventually all the way to Santiago Oaks Regional Park. Take the family. Picnic, play, relax. "Located in the scenic foothills of East Orange County, California’s oldest County park (donated by James Irvine in 1897) has a rustic, early Californian atmosphere and offers such unique features as the Orange County Zoo and Irvine Park Railroad. It’s also an ideal setting for observing wildlife, visible along the nature trail and on the surrounding hillsides.... Irvine Regional Park is nestled among a grove of heritage Oak and Sycamore trees. The rolling foothills surrounding the park are filled with a variety of wildlife. Trees, shaded turf areas provide a serene setting for leisure activities. Santiago Creek bisects the park and a pond with stone-work waterfall and foot bridge is located in the center of the park. The variety of landscape greatly enhances the park's beauty. "  Orange
Laguna Niguel Regional Park 
 
 
"Discover suburban recreation at its best, with a wide selection of outdoor activities, including tennis, volleyball, jogging and bicycling in a spacious, well-landscaped setting. Also enjoy fishing and boating on the park’s 44-acre lake.... Laguna Niguel Regional Park's 80 acres of turf surround a 44 acre lake, which is regularly stocked with catfish, bass and blue gill and trout during the winter months only. A large assortment of trees dot the park's 236 acreage providing beauty and shade."  Laguna Niguel
Mason Regional Park 
 
 
"Situated near the UC Irvine campus and Irvine business district, hundreds of acres of protected land serve as a natural reserve dedicated to habitat enhancement. Many native animal species inhabit the area, while the lake and lush shade trees provide visitors with a refreshing change of pace.... William R. Mason Regional Park was the fourth park to open under the county master plan of regional parks. The park encompasses 345 acres of open spaces, grassy knolls and natural areas. Generous plantings of trees offer shade and beauty throughout the park."  Irvine
Mile Square Regional Park 
 
 
Smack-dab in the middle of the county, land a mile square - put aside as a park. Awesome. Take your bike or skates if you plan to see all sides of it. Includes a golf course. "This park, with its 'mile square' expanse of green fields, offers a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of life in Orange County. Stretch out and relax, or for those in search of activity, take advantage of the excellent sports facilities, including three 18-hole golf courses.... Mile Square Regional Park is an urban park located in the City of Fountain Valley and totals 640 acres of land. Within the park's boundaries are three regulation golf courses, two regulation soccer fields, baseball & softball diamonds, an archery range and a wilderness area. Also, there are two fishing lakes, concession operated bike and paddle boat operations, a wide expanse of picnic areas as well as numerous picnic shelters. Shelters serve a wide variety of visitors ranging from individuals to families and group organizations to annual company picnics. 65 acres of land located adjacent to Brookhurst is leased to the City of Fountain Valley for recreational purposes. This parcel has been developed by the city into a high-activity community park. Facilities provided by the city include a community center building, ball diamonds, basketball courts, outdoor play areas and a tennis court complex. Night lighting is provided on much of the outdoor facilities to extend playing hours."  Fountain Valley
O'Neill Regional Park 
 
 
Coming from the North, you'd swear you had gotten way out into the country. But go just past it, wind up the hill, and within a mile you're in the big city again. BUMMER! But forget I told you that and just enjoy the seeming isolation of this nice oak-shaded park. Bring a bike if you like to ride trails - this connects in with a network that will keep you riding for hours. "Located in Majestic Trabuco Canyon, this expansive park offers a unique spot for both day use and camping. Life’s hectic pace slows noticeably when you enter the tree-shaded grounds. The feeling is remote, rural, relaxing.... O'Neill Regional Park is situated in beautiful Trabuco and Live Oak Canyons. The park is heavily wooded with coast live oak and sycamore trees. The hillsides surrounding the park are filled with cactus, wild buckwheat, sagebrush and chaparral of scrub oak, buckthorn and mountain mahogany. Trabuco and Hicky Creeks also meander through the park, flowing in winter and early spring, dry in summer and fall."  Trabuco Canyon
Peters Canyon Regional Park 
 
 
"Nestled in the peaceful hills behind Orange, this park is a unique blend of native vegetation and scenic trails for outdoor recreation and nature lovers. Lush groves of willows and black cottonwoods intertwine with a rambling creek and encase a beautiful 50-acre lake. The park also offers a variety of trails, which are perfect for hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.... Peters Canyon Regional Park offers a unique blend of native habitat and man's influence on the land. The park encompasses 354 acres of coastal sage scrub, riparian, freshwater marsh and grassland habitats. The 55-acre Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir is home to many resident and migrating waterfowl. Willows, sycamores and black cottonwoods line the lake and Peters Canyon Creek which meanders through the canyon. The park offers a variety of graded roads and trails providing opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. The East Ridge View Trail provides a panoramic view of Peters Canyon and the surrounding area. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of Upper Peters Canyon reservoir while traversing the Lake View Trail. Peters Canyon Creek Nature Trail guides hikers through lush groves of willows and rare black cottonwoods supported by a running creek. Visitors will encounter the park's grassland, coastal sage scrub and riparian habitats as well as eucalyptus groves on the Lower Canyon Trail. The wildlife population includes mule deer, bobcats, coyotes, opossums, raccoons and an occasional mountain lion. Many smaller amphibians, mammals and reptiles abound, attracted by the lure of Peters Canyon Reservoir and Creek. Cactus wrens, gnatcatchers and rufous-crowned sparrows may be found in the park's coastal sage scrub and grassland communities. The eucalyptus groves are home to Cooper's, red-tail and red-shouldered hawks that can be seen patrolling the skies for unwary prey."  Orange
Santiago Oaks Regional Park 
 
 
Great hiking, but somewhat steep. Nice short loop trail with an awesome view of the county. Connects to Irvine Park via trail (see Irvine Regional Park). Equestrians welcome. More of a nature lovers park than a picnic park (see Irvine writeup!) "This secluded refuge offers the natural charm of mountain vistas, an orange grove, native oak trees and a creek. Here hikers, naturalists and equestrians can enjoy the scenery as well as interpretive programs at the visitor center.... Situated in east Orange astride Santiago Creek, this approximately 350-acre site consisted originally of two purchases commonly known as the "Blome" and "Rinker" properties. These two parcels constituted a ready-made park atmosphere. The Rinker property was planted in 1959 with a variety of tree species. These have since matured creating a specimen forest and excellent wildlife habitat. The creek itself offers typical riparian growth including Sycamores and Willows flanked by Oak Woodlands. On the south bank lies the Blome property. The park office, Nature Center, picnic grounds, nature trail and a six-acre orange grove are all found in this area."  Orange
Yorba Regional Park 
 
 
Will multiple ponds, paved & unpaved trails, lots of picnic tables/bbq's, Yorba is a wonderful place to take the family. Take your bike and ride around the park or on the adjacent Santa Ana River Bike Trail. Go in the evenings and see the bunnies scamper across the back trails as you round the corners. "Framed by the rolling hills of rural Yorba Linda, set at the base of Anaheim Hills and adjacent to the varied wildlife of the Santa Ana River, this pleasant park is the perfect urban get-away. Recreational facilities support parties and social gatherings, softball games and bike riding.... A linear day use park over one mile long situated in the mouth of Santa Ana Canyon in the city of Anaheim. The linear environment of the park site recaptures the river setting of the adjacent Santa Ana River. Because the park is in a historic setting in an area where such names as Yorba, Peralta and Dominguez were common, the Orange County Board of Supervisors recognized the 1976 opening of the park site by designating Yorba Regional Park as the official Orange County bicentennial project. Recent completion of Phase III Development in the park has maximized the usable 175 acres of recreational land."  Anaheim
© Keith Weber
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