Orange County

Orange County's new Bell View Regional Trail offers wide views of far-flung suburbs and brooding mountains.

The Bell View Regional Trail, for hikers, equestrians, and cyclists, starts as a "community trail" threading through the suburban-edge communities of Rancho Santa Margarita and Coto de Caza. It then assumes a wilder character as ...

Orange County's El Modena Open Space perches like an island above the L. A. Basin sprawl.

The mile-long El Modena Open Space in the city of Orange preserves a steep-sided, miniature mountain range, clothed in a tough mixture of drought-resistant cactus and sage-scrub vegetation. Underfoot, you'll find colorful andesite and pyroclastic ...

Orange County's Black Star Canyon conceals a surprising waterfall.

Good timing is the key to catching the waterfall in Black Star Canyon at its best. Since only about three square miles of drainage area lie above it, persistent rains are needed to get more ...

Discover sea stacks and small sea cave at the historic Dana Point headlands in Orange County.

The sea cliffs at Dana Point are revered by historians as the site where Spanish vaqueros threw hides over the cliffs and down to waiting ships as described in Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before ...

Discover peace, quiet, birds, and native plants at Orange County's San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.

As one of the richest wetland areas Southern California, the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary offers an uncommon opportunity to come in contact with a natural ecosystem seemingly plunked down in the midst of Orange County's ...

Enjoy an easy-going trek along south Orange County's secluded Crystal Cove coastline.

Hemmed in by hundred-foot cliffs on one side and the restless surf on the other, Crystal Cove State Park's three miles of sandy beachfront seem strangely detached from the busy Orange County world above. Aside ...

Discover a showery 20-foot cascade in Coal Canyon, Orange County's premier wildlife corridor.

For at least three decades, the Coal Canyon diamond interchange on the Riverside Freeway through Santa Ana Canyon was a virtual joke, featuring ramps to and from nowhere. "Nowhere" might have been replaced by subdivisions ...

Redwoods in Southern California? Try Orange County's Carbon Canyon Regional Park.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park, one of the many smaller units of Orange County�s far-flung regional park system, has enough room for one significant hiking trail. An unlikely grove of coast redwood trees, nursed from seedlings ...

Discover Laurel Spring, a lofty mini-oasis in Orange County's Santa Ana Mountains.

Laurel Spring, a mini-oasis tucked into an upper crease of the Santa Ana Mountains, lies just three air miles away from the expanding edge of Orange County's outer suburbs. Groundwater coming to the surface here ...

Scan the Pacific Ocean from Seaview Park in Orange County's Laguna Niguel.

Southern Orange County is richly endowed with regional and open-space parks, which helps to atone for the immense area of valley and hillside now brutally overrun with suburban development. These open spaces allow residents and ...

Survey Orange County's landscape from the Ocean View Point in O'Neill Regional Park.

During the 55-year existence of O'Neill Regional Park in Orange County, the park's area has grown from 278 acres to more than 3000 acres. During this same span of time, a spreading tide of suburban ...

Hike or bike oak-shaded El Moro Canyon in Orange County's Crystal Cove State Park.

Crystal Cove State Park preserves one of the last large, undisturbed parcels of open space along the Orange County coast. Besides containing a three-mile stretch of bluffs and ocean front, the park reaches back into ...

View the Pacific from Emerald Vista, Crystal Cove State Park, Orange County.

On the most transparent winter days, the view from Emerald Vista Point in Orange County's Crystal Cove State Park spans more than 200 miles of Southern California coastline. Far beyond Dana Point to the southeast, ...

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