Jesse and I have started taking monthly walkabouts around some of the local Orange County hiking areas to get a little further off the road and see a bit more raw California. Our first trek this past Friday was at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Foothill Ranch. I had heard about the park from some friends, and heard it was nice, but was really surprised at how fast I felt like I was off the grid; twenty yards into the trailhead and I felt like we were in an ancient and slower time… It is truly amazing how close we are to such beautiful topography.
There are around 2500 acres with graded roads & single-track trails woven throughout. Sandy washes that gave way to oak woodland canyons, sycamore groves, rolling grassland hills and scenic rock formations kept us quietly amazed.
In 2007, there was a fire that burnt 90% of the park and the land is still recovering; there are strict rules to be sure that all hiking is done on the marked trails which seems reasonable to me… Jesse had photographed the area after the fire in 2007 and actually posted photos to the blog here – . As we walked through the area, you could see how it had recovered over the years. Some of the sycamores that had burned to the ground now had ten young trunks fifteen feet into the air; from one tree now came many…
Deer were abundant; we saw at least ten within a few minutes’ span.
So – get out there and take advantage of all that our Orange County has to offer. We are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. People come from all over to visit us and I forget sometimes that there are amazing places in our own back yard.
Whiting Ranch is open from 7AM until sunset, year round, with the exception of rains in which case the park is closed to control for trail erosion.
Where: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Parking at Market Place at Portola Parkway in Foothill Ranch and at Glenn Ranch Road staging area. For more information, call the park office at 949.923.2245.
Please feel free to contact me if you have interest in joining in on our hikes at 949.545.2037 and we’ll head out together!