Summary: God bless you, Edna Spaulding. You laid out a wonderful trail.
If you're looking for a pleasant weekend day trip with the family in the foothills of Orange County, this is your destination. The trail is deftly tucked beneath a ridgeline so even at its highest point you don't see the new housing being built on the other side. In the springtime, native wildflowers crowd the trail on all sides.
The natural vegetation is so exuberant that, at times, the trail may be lost in clusters of orange bush monkey flowers, coast paintbrush, star fields, white sage, and native bunch grasses. Watch for rattlesnakes everywhere and for poison oak along the bottomland portion. (It's stop 9!)
Avoid the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky. This makes a very pleasant early morning or late afternoon stroll. Pack a picnic lunch, play in the Oak Grove Picnic Area, and then head out to experience a touch of wilderness at the edge of the endless city.
Trailhead: From Interstate 5, get off at El Toro Road. Head north on El Toro to the point where the road forks at Cook's Corner. Take the right fork (Live Oak Canyon Road) to O'Neill Park. Pay your entrance fee and proceed to the Oak Grove Picnic Area, about a quarter of a mile to the right. The trailhead is located at the northwest end of the Picnic Area.
There is a $2 entrance fee for day use during the week, $4 on weekends. Camping is also available.
Pick up a trail guide at the fee station or the Nature Center. (Lat:33.6506 Lon:-117.6025)
Trail Guides for Edna Spaulding Nature Trail, O´Neill RP:
Afoot & Afield in Orange County
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Horses,
Ranger Contact: O'Neill Regional Park, 949-858-9365
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joel Sax, who has posted 51 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by David L. on 8/1/2010
Nice enjoyable hike, good views of the area and interesting oak trees. It's too short for me to really consider it a great hike, but it's certainly a fun one. Check out my trip report here.
Reviewed by Jeremy on 6/9/2009
My 6 and 8 year old daughters were not thrilled about this hike. They are usually pretty into nature hikes, but there were several problems with this one: too many bees on plants hanging over the trail, too many horseflies, too steep (up and down), fire ants and other creepy looking bugs, and very itchy in general. We went on an overcast day and were still quite hot. However, they absolutely loved the REALLY NICE playground (with balance beam, zip line, swings, climbing wall, ... And they enjoyed walking around the day use area. NOTE: THE NATURE CENTER IS ONLY OPEN ON WEEKENDS.
Reviewed by Sharlene on 5/17/2009
We hiked this on Mother's Day with our two year olds. It was pleasant but I am not quite as exuberant about it as Joel who submited this hike. I think its a great little day hike for families in an awesome county park. Certainly bring a picnic and check out the nature center with your kids. You can even camp here!
Reviewed by HowardM on 2/28/2009
Just finished this hike with wife an 5 1/2 year old boy. Hike we just enough to work up a little sweat on a warm day but not enough for the kid to complain much which means it was perfect. Trail head is difficult to find it the large park. We passed it at first, it is actually the first trail in the first parking lot. After the hike you can drive or walk about another half mile to a nice playground and small stream to play near. Great family park and hike!
Reviewed by B on 10/6/2008
Prices have gone up $1 to $5 on the weekend and $3 on the weekdays. This is a beautiful hike. 10-08
Reviewed by Susan on 5/14/2007
This is a very doable hike for dogs and children. It is an uphill and then downhill hike but the views are nice and you can finish by having a picnic in Oak Grove area.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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