Summary: Poison oak grows faster than new subdivisions along the south bank of Trabuco Creek. For this reason, it may be best to attempt it during the winter months when the rash-provoking vegetation has mostly died off. Some guides mention it as a good jogging trail, but because of the poison oak danger, I would not attempt it in any pair of pants higher than the tops of your shoes.
You may wish to stay out of the woods altogether from about April through November and stick to the wash.
Those who investigate the woodlands in the spring months will find an array of interesting wildflowers mixed with the poison oak. Youthful coast live oaks and gigantic sycamores shade the paths. On weekends, the trip back along the camping areas may be congested with children throwing rocks in the stream.
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 Nature Center Parking Lot which is to the right. From the Nature Center, cut across the playground area to Arroyo Trabuco (Trabuco Creek). Cross the creek and look for the narrow trail in the woodlands on the south bank.
There is a $2 entrance fee for day use during the week, $4 on weekends. Camping is also available. (Lat:33.6515 Lon:-117.5994)
Trail Guides for Upper Arroyo Trabuco Trail, O´Neill RP:
Afoot & Afield in Orange County
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: 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.
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