New hikes for the new year


New hikes for the New Year

Is your New Year’s Resolution to get outdoors and be more active, but you don’t know where, or how, to start?  Well, if you’re new to hiking, walking, running, etc and new to exploring nature, here are a few suggestions.  I’ve listed these from most easy to least easy. Nothing here is too strenuous in my opinion.  

For more hiking info throughout OC and the rest of the state, check out my IG or Tik Tok account @cal.euphoria.  You can also check out if you’re exploring outside of the state.  Look for a reel including these hikes on the @allthingsorangecounty  page.  Enjoy! 
Websites of the individual sites have been included should you desire additional information and the latest news from that specific center. 
bolsa chica
Introduction to hiking and nature doesn’t get any easier!  This inconspicuous gem is tucked away behind a fence, and is only open Fri & Sat from 9am-1pm.  The nature center consists of 4,000 ft of well maintained, easy, flat, dirt trails meandering through 8 different types of habitats including wetlands, desert plants, and even coastal redwoods!   
It’s a perfect spot to bring kids.  After checking out the nature center, take the little ones to the adventurous playground by Lake Huntington (located in the same area of Central Park).  The closest parking lot is at the corner of GoldenWest and Talbert, across the street from the sports complex.  Admission is free, but please consider at least a $3 donation. 
There are occasional educational and cultural performances here as well.  This has included appearances by members of the Acjachemen Nation (the original residents of OC). 
Boomers Canyon
This is another great place to go for an easy stroll.  It’s a paved trail that’s 3.4 miles long from point-to-point.  For most of that distance, the trail runs on either side of a small creek.  There are numerous points of interest along the way, including (but not limited to):
A butterfly garden
A 9/11 peace obelisk memorial
A plant maze
An oak grove
A recycled glass walkway
Numerous educational and art displays (these can vary throughout the year and may be created by adults or children)
There are multiple entry points along the route, and therefore, multiple areas to park. 
As the name implies, this site is located in a canyon.  That typically means that it remains relatively lush and shaded year round compared to the rest of Southern California.  It’s a relatively small 58 acre park, but has approximately 4 miles of hiking trails. 
Suggestion: If you’re new to hiking and the outdoors, stick to the Stream Trail portion of the park. This section goes along the creek and is lush year round. There are small bridges to cross, natural history exhibits, a bird feeder area, and a museum. 
If you want to challenge yourself a little, do the loop trail. Starting from the visitor center take the Heritage Trail, ascending toward the Roadrunner Ridge Trail.  This portion of the trail is dry during the summer and has no shade, but provides gorgeous views of the lush canyon below.  You can also access the Walnut Canyon Reservoir from this trail.  Eventually, this trail descends back down into the canyon to the above mentioned Stream Trail, and ultimately back towards the visitor center.  
It’s a great place for those that are new to hiking and families with small children.  It’s free, but consider making a small donation at the trailhead.
OC is blessed with many wonderful regional parks, and this one is no exception.  This complex has ample green spaces for any recreational activity, an equestrian center, a beautiful pond, historical monuments, and even a small railroad.  Several holiday events are held at this center throughout the year.  
The “Irvine Regional Park Loop Trail” is an excellent way to increase the hiking intensity.  There are a few small hills here, but nothing too intense.  Parking costs $3 unless you show up an hour before sunset (free at that point). $5 on weekends, and slightly higher on some special occasions. 
Looking for more OC hike? Here are more Orange County hikes we think you’ll love. Looking to head out on a few hikes with your fur friend? Here are the best dog-friendly Orange County hikes. 
Jorge Mendoza
Jorge Mendoza

Guest blogger Jorge Mendoza Instagram @cal.euphoria

Born and raised in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, but moved to the Northeast part of the country for almost 15 years after high school. When we moved Back to SoCal, we lived in Irvine for 1 year, before settling down in Huntington Beach. It's at this point that I started exploring and gaining an appreciation for all there is to do in OC. Sometimes, you can forget about a wonderful experience (a beautiful sunset seen through a sea cave, walking on sand dunes, a fantastic dinner, a breathtaking waterfall, etc). But, one look at a photo or video from that moment will cause a rush of memories and emotions to flood your brain, and suddenly you can recall every little detail of that adventure. That's what @cal.euphoria does for me. Follow Jorge @cal.euphoria for more California wanderlust.

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