(credit: shutterstock)
(credit: shutterstock)
Hiking is a fun, inexpensive way to spend quality time with the family, get some exercise and learn more about nature. The trails below showcase some of Orange County’s most appealing outdoor terrains and cater to beginning hikers on up to advanced.
(credit: Sandra L./Yelp)

(credit: Sandra L./Yelp)

Oaks Canyon Nature Center
6700 E. Walnut Canyon Road
Anaheim, CA 92807
(714) 998-8380

This 58-acre park consists of canyons, oak trees, a stream that trickles through the area all year round and four miles of hiking trails that are suitable for beginning hikers as well as those who are more advanced. If you and your family are interested in taking part in a “naturalist-led hike,” check out the Oaks Canyon Nature Center’s “Discover Nature Family Program” and “Nature Nights” that are offered for only a $5 donation fee. The center also hosts other fun events including “Cinema Under The Stars Movie Nights” and “Tiny Tots Academy.” Learn more about the special hikes hosted and learning programs offered on the website.

(Credit: OC Parks)

Peters Canyon Regional Park
8548 E. Canyon View Ave.
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 973-6611

Peters Canyon Regional Park has several roads and trails suitable for hiking, biking and riding horses. Some of the more popular hikes include the Lake View Trail that overlooks the the Upper Peters Canyon reservoir, the Peters Canyon Creek Nature Trail consisting of cottonwoods, a creek and black willows and The East Ridge View Trail that shows all of Peters Canyon. Parking is only $3 for the entire day, and the park is open from 7 a.m. until sunset.

(credit: Erik Oginski)

(credit: Erik Oginski)

Crystal Cove State Park
8471 N. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-3539

Orange County has many desirable terrains, one of the most notable being the beach. At Crystal Cove State Park, you and your family can enjoy 3.2 miles of beach coastline, as well as explore the vast woodland on site. After taking a challenging hike, you can bring your swimsuits along and take a dip in the ocean. The park is a popular destination for hikers, equestrians, scuba divers, surfers and swimmers. To keep the fun going until the next day, you may want to reserve a campground. Click here for more information.

(credit: caopenspace.org)

(credit: caopenspace.org)

Santiago Oaks Regional Park
2145 N. Windes Drive
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 973-6620

Described as a “nature lover’s paradise,” Santiago Oaks Regional Park is an ideal hiking spot. The park is 1,269 acres and overlooks the city of Orange and has trails with a creek, a variety of trees, groves and abundant wildlife. Additionally, there is a nature center at the park that provides nature walks, films and presentations put on by park rangers. To find out when the next event is being held, be sure to call the number above.

Related: Cycling Expert’s Favorite Rides In OC


Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
28373 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
(949) 923-2200

With more than 30 miles of hiking trails, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park has plenty of nature for you and your family to explore. Additionally, the area is known to have endangered animals and plants and is therefore considered a wildlife sanctuary. The rare wildlife combined with streams, sycamores, oaks and elderberry trees make Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park a special hiking destination.

Related: Ask A Local Trainer: The Best Ways To Get Fit In OC

Stacy Brecht is a professional writer, dancer, marketer and model in the Los Angeles area. Brecht also enjoys traveling, wine, fitness training, volunteering, movies and trying new restaurants. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.