A more restful place could scarcely be imagined. A warm breeze from the desert below wafts up the shady canyon, bringing with it the scent of sage and bay laurel. A lone bigleaf maple tree shimmers in the sunlight. A sparkling stream gushes out of the ground and begins a headlong rush toward the dry desert sands a half mile below. "Oasis" is a perfectly apt description of this idyllic spot tucked into the east face of the Laguna Mountains.
Oasis Spring lies only 200 yards from Sunrise Highway but about 300 feet lower in elevation. The best way to reach it is by way of a gradually descending dirt road from the south. This gated road intersects Sunrise Highway at mile 26.7, but parking is very limited here. An east-side turnout at mile 26.5 offers more room. Just below this turnout, you may pick up the Pacific Crest Trail and follow it north. After about 300 yards, the PCT dips into a shallow ravine and briefly joins the road to Oasis Spring. Stay on the road and continue descending through an elfin forest of mostly mountain mahogany.
Curving left, the road leaves the ravine and briefly traverses the abrupt face of the Laguna escarpment. From the lip of the road there's a dramatic view of Storm Canyon and the distant alluvial fans and barren peaks of the desert.
From the dirt road's end, a narrow trail descends on tight switchbacks through a thick growth of live oak and bay laurel to reach an old pumphouse. Nearby is the aforementioned bigleaf maple tree. This particular specimen was evidently planted here. The natural range of the bigleaf maple within the Pacific coast states extends no farther south than the Santa Ana and San Bernardino Mountains.