23 February 2017
How to Experience Nature in Orange County
Though Orange County is not particularly famous for its natural landscape, California boasts plenty of natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes. Of course, the beaches, tidal pools, and coves are the most popular places to visit for nature-seeking or sun-loving tourists, but few people realize that Orange County is so much more. Here are a few places you should go if you want to see the natural beauty of Orange County.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is known at the “little Grand Canyon of Orange County.” It is a short, easy hike that leads you down into a beautiful stretch of pinkish rock canyons. Just 4.5 miles, this hike is suitable for families with older children or people who may struggle with more difficult hikes. The area that contains Red Rock Canyon is called Whiting Ranch and contains many other hiking trails for the outdoorsy tourist.
Santiago Peak is the highest in Orange County. Known locally as Saddleback Mountain, the trail that leads to the top is both long and difficult. Reaching the summit is feasible for seasoned hikers and provides a stunning view of the surrounding areas, including Catalina Island. If you are not a seasoned hiker, a trip to the mountain may still be worth your while. The trail itself is also a beautiful landscape with large, shady trees, crystalline creeks, and breathtaking waterfalls. You do not have to make it to the top of the mountain to enjoy the beauty it has to offer.
Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
Considered a wildlife reserve, the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park area offers a sprawling 4,500 acres of native plants and animals. Numerous winding trails will take you past two year-round streams and enormous sycamore and trees. The wildlife you can view on the 30 miles of trails is often rare or endangered, making a hike through this reserve a unique experience. Though camping is not allowed, the park is open from 7 am to sunset, giving you plenty of time to explore and enjoy.
Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park is one of the best places to enjoy everything the Californian wilderness has to offer. Wooded canyons, sandy beaches, sheltered coves, and vibrant tidal pools can all be found within the area. The park permits hiking, swimming, surfing, and camping as well as providing historical rental cottages for a true beachside experience. It is open 24 hours with no end to the activities you can do. The tidal pools are teeming with life, waiting to be explored while the beach itself is a popular spot for surfers. When night falls, the coves are often lit with bonfires. Though Orange County has a lot to offer in the way of festivals, museums, theme parks, and art shows, few people realize how beautiful its natural landscape can be. In fact, it’s the perfect place to visit for anyone seeking change and perspective, or anyone who simply wants to feel closer to nature. Of course, if you do visit Orange County, don’t forget to enjoy the city life as well as its many beaches and mountains.
Image via Pixabay by esudroff