Location: Orange: 8548 E. Canyon View Ave.
Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset daily
Cost: Entry fees for the county-run park are $3 per vehicle during the week, $5 on weekends and $7 on holidays.
For ages: All
Tucked away in Orange is the quiet wonder of Peter’s Canyon, a little gem hidden in the hills.
It’s a popular park for hiking, and a variety of trails at the 354-acre nature experience include high grasses past water features and even a towering eucalyptus grove that’s the stuff woodland-fairy tales are made of.
The most popular hike, since it is near the main entrance, is the Lake View Loop Trail, which circles the 55-acre Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir to provide glimpses of willows and sycamores that line the lake, amphibians, rabbits and wildflowers. A creek leaves here and meanders through the canyon (best seen in the spring), and sometimes you can catch a glimpse of raccoons and deer in the area. California pepper trees provide a shady place to picnic. A small child won’t make it all the way around, but you can bring a picnic lunch and simply hike for 5 or 10 minutes in and find a great space to picnic – and then call it a day.
Older children and adults, however, might like the Peters Canyon Trail, which can be picked up from Lake View Loop to take you deeper into the canyon, treating you to lush groves of willows and rare black cottonwoods, all supported by a running creek. The East Ridge Trail breaks away from there, running parallel, but offering another type of experience: terrific panoramas of wildflower-covered Peter’s Canyon. Both trails take you down through the southern portion of the park where the Lower Canyon Trail (informally called “the eucalyptus trail”) cuts through groves of eucalyptus trees that offer a shady, magical woodland experience.
Where to park: Enter the parking lot from the north by taking Jamboree, which crosses Canyon View. (The south entrance, on Peter’s Canyon Road, has no parking lot.)
What to bring: Bottled water per person, sunscreen, hats. Best to wear long pants and tennis shoes for the hike.
Best time to go: Summer is a little too hot to hike, unless you go in the early morning. Spring is beautiful.
For more information: 714-973-6611or Orange County Parks website
Do you enjoy going to Peter’s Canyon Regional Park? Have you ever hiked the Eucalyptus Trail? Tell us your stories!