January 18, 2012

Check Out these 12 hikes in Orange County that take you to new heights.

Orange County might not be known for its wide open spaces, but don'€™t be fooled; we are much more than a concrete jungle. By the numbers, Orange County has more than 32,000 acres of urban wilderness parks.

If you'€™d like to venture off OC'€™s paved path, take a hike and discover places like Modjeska Canyon in Silverado Canyon. This bit of country in the middle of Orange County is a hidden oasis where it is not unusual to find a majestic oak tree growing in the middle of the road. There are no perfect, cookie-cutter homes here, just the real OC where nature rules. These regions are an ideal place to explore on foot and take in a mild stroll or rugged hike along side the Santa Ana Mountains and discover the picturesque vistas that reveal breathtaking city views.

A few more of my favorite hiking locations include:

Want more hikes? Mild to wild hiking trails are woven all throughout OC. Here are a few additional OC parks with hiking trails:

A few tips:" 

With a little advance planning, you take a naturalist-led tour highlighting seasonal wildflowers or indigenous plants. There are also special hikes geared just for children or romantic, moonlight hikes. OC Wildlife and Beach Tour has a wonderful eco-tour that will take you to some beautiful places in OC with minimal walking.

Do your homework. I'€™ve been reading a new book about getting out in OC, entitled '€œActive in Orange County'€ and it'€™s helped me discover some new spots I can'€™t wait to try out. It outlines hikes, parks and seldom-discovered OC scenic spots.

Go shopping. Active lifestyle stores like REI have periodic classes on hiking and exploring Orange County'€™s outdoors. They give pointers of what to bring on a hike ensure maximum fun and safely too.

So what are you waiting for? Strap on some rugged hiking shoes and discover Orange County'€™s biggest playground- one that has nothing to do with manmade fun.