By Kathleen Mest
Living in the 908, we have easy access to LA county and OC trails (yes...beyond the Orange Curtain). We’re always looking for some great, easy trails on which to bring/drag the family along and get our bodies moving! Here is a short list of hikes we have enjoyed that are less than an hour’s drive away.
Colorado Lagoon Loop
Colorado Lagoon, 5059 E Colorado St, Long Beach, CA 90814
Parking: Free parking lot on Appian Way and Colorado St. Pay parking lot at Colorado Lagoon.
What you’ll see: This easy 1-mile loop begins with a bridge crossing over the lagoon. The trail is great for viewing native plants and birdwatching. Finish your hike at the sandy swimming beach or extend it 0.6 mile (out and back) by taking the Red Car Greenbelt trail at 4th St. and Park Ave. To enter the Greenbelt, continue past the bridge when you finish the loop.
For more info: www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/colorado-lagoon-loop
Long Beach Shoreline Pedestrian Path
Ocean Blvd and Bay Shore Ave.
Allowed: Dogs on pedestrian path. Bikes on bike path
Parking: Free and metered street parking. Pay parking lot on Ocean Blvd. and Bay Shore Ave.
What you’ll see: This 7.3-mile out & back beach path takes you from Alamitos Bay to Shoreline Village. Grab breakfast at Chuck’s Coffee Shop or lunch at The Plunge for awesome views. Public restrooms are available along the path.
Naples Canals Inner Loop
The Colonnade Park, 10 The Colonnade Canal, Long Beach, CA 90803
Parking: Free street parking
What you’ll see: Start at Colonnade Park and walk along the canal. Breathe in the ocean air and take in the awesome bay views, beautiful homes, and interesting boats. Once around the island is 0.7 miles. To extend the walk, cross over the bridges and check out Treasure Island.
To view a map of Naples Island: www.longbeach.gov/park/park-and-facilities/directory/the-colonnade
West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail
Monte Verde Park, 4626 Shadeway Rd, Lakewood, CA 90713
Parking: Free parking lots at Monte Verde Park and Mae Boyar Park
What you’ll see: Head south towards Carson Street for beautiful tall trees and native plants. Head north for lush plants and wildflowers. This is a very easy 3.4 mile out & back trail. Note: Street crossing at Del Amo Blvd.
Bolsa Chica Inner Bay Loop Trail
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, 18000 CA-1, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Parking: 2 free parking lots
What you’ll see: Start at the South Parking lot for this very easy 1.6 mile loop. You’ll encounter wildflowers, birds, rabbits, native plants, ocean views from overlooks, bridge crossings, open water, and coastal dunes. Lengthen your hike by trying out additional trails in this beautiful area.
For more info: www.bolsachica.org/faqs
Gum Grove Park Trail
Gum Grove Park, Crescent View & Avalon Drive, Seal Beach, CA 90740
Parking: Free parking lot
What you’ll see: On this very easy 2.1 mile loop, you’ll see wildflowers, native plants, and don’t miss the trail down the middle of the park shaded by the large eucalyptus trees. The trees are surprisingly grand.
For more info: www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/gum-grove-park
A LITTLE FARTHER
Thousand Steps Beach
31972 Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (9th Avenue and PCH)
Parking: Free and metered street parking (read parking signs)
What you’ll see: After climbing down 223 steep steps (that seem like 1000 on the way up), you’ll have your choice: To the left, walk towards a large tunnel to rocky coves, large tide pools and a man-made ocean pool. To the right: Walk towards a rock tunnel and to Totuava Beach with awesome rock formations. BOTH tunnels can only be accessed during LOW tide. Paradise found. Note: Wear shoes if you would like to do some rock climbing.
For more info: www.californiabeaches.com/beach/thousand-steps-beach-laguna
Victoria Beach Pirate Tower
Public access via a long stairwell at 2713 Victoria Dr. Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Parking: Free and metered street parking. Pay parking lot can be found at Treasure Island Beach, Laguna Beach
What you’ll see: Walk north and onto the rocks. Around the point, you will see the mysterious “pirate” tower. Check-out the amazing rock formations and tide pools. And be hypnotized by the large waves crashing onto the rocks and down the sides like a waterfall. The tower is only accessible during low tide.
Bommer Meadow Nature Loop
Bommer Canyon Open Space Preserve, 1 Bommer Canyon Road, Irvine, CA 92617
Allowed: Bikes, horses
Parking: Free parking lot
What you’ll see: Spring is a beautiful time to visit this easy 1.7-mile loop. The meadows are lush with native grasses, tall wildflowers and bridge crossings. The preserve has a number of hikes including dog-friendly Quail Hill Loop. Bommer Canyon Trail will take you past ancient oak and sycamore groves and rough rock outcrops to a vista point.
For more info: www.letsgooutside.org/explore/bommer-canyon
Borrego Canyon Trail to Red Rock Canyon
Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, 26701 Portola Parkway, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610
Parking: Small pay parking lot
What you’ll see: This easy 3.6 mile round trip trail packs in a lot: wild flowers, native plants, partial shade by beautiful trees, stream crossings, birdwatching (including hawks!), and red rock canyon walls.
For more info: www.ocparks.com/parks/whiting
El Moro Canyon Short Loop Trail
Crystal Cove State Park, 8471 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California 92651
Allowed: Certain areas allow dogs, bikes and horses
Parking: 2 pay parking lots
What you’ll see: This moderate 2.85-mile loop will provide you with canyon walls, wildflowers, grasslands, and beautiful views of the ocean. There is no shade and it can get hot. If you take the trail counter-clockwise, you will hike a very steep section named “Poles” because you will wish you had some. Your reward? The gorgeous ocean views in your sight rather than behind you. After finishing the trail, you can access the beach from the lower parking lot for some deserved relaxation.
For more info: www.crystalcovestatepark.org
Eaton Canyon Falls Trail
Eaton Canyon Natural Area, 1750 N. Altadena Dr., Pasadena, CA 91001
Parking: Free parking lot and overflow lot
What you’ll see: On this 3.5-mile out and back trail you will encounter stream crossings, sandy trails, native plants, views of the mountains and a 40-foot waterfall with a small pool!
Note: Timed entry reservations are required to hike in this park. No same-day reservations or walk-ins allowed.
For more info and to make your reservation: www.ecnca.org
Burma Road Trail to Eagle’s Nest to Ishibashi Trail
Portuguese Bend Reserve, Burma Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Allowed: Dogs, bikes, horses
Parking: Very limited free street parking. Friday-Sunday, free shuttle available at Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall.
What you’ll see: This moderate inverted hike (easy downhill start and hard uphill end) is about a 2.5-mile loop. With many well-marked trails to choose from, create your chooseyour-own-route hike. You will see breathtaking panoramic ocean views, interesting rock formations, canyon walls, wildflowers and native plants.
For more info: www.pvplc.org/trails-hiking
Note: Always research before you set out on your hike. Some trails are closed after rains, fires or a pandemic.