Monday, March 7, 2011

Mile Square Regional Park (Mile Square Park)

Mile Square Regional Park (sometimes also known as Mile Square Park) is a fun urban hiking location in Orange County, California. Recently Ashley and I had the opportunity to visit and hike at Mile Square Regional Park. Mile Square Regional Park is located in Northern Orange County and it is a fun place to visit for locals in that area. Mile Square Regional Park offers a great urban outdoor experience, has two lakes, and the park also offers a portion of the park designated as a natural area for those to enjoy. If you are looking for a true wilderness feel, where you are miles away from the city, this is not the hiking/outdoor place for you since Mile Square Regional Park is a 640 acre green belt in the urban core of North Orange County.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to Mile Square Regional Park (Mile Square Park), coming from South Orange County take the 405 freeway heading North. Exit at Euclid and head North. The entrance to Mile Square Regional Park (Mile Square Park) will be on your left in about a mile and a half. Here is the address for Mile Square Park: 16801 Euclid Fountain Valley, CA 92708. The park hours are: Fall - Winter Hours, 7:00am to 6:30pm. Spring - Summer Hours, 7:00am to 9:00pm. Parking costs $3 Monday - Friday and $5 Saturday - Sunday. Some free parking is available on the street. For a map of Mile Square Park click Here.

Description of Hike: Mile Square Regional Park offers two short hiking/walking loops, that we classify as an urban hiking trail in this oasis of greenery in North Orange County. One of the hiking trail loops at Mile Square Regional Park is a 3 mile loop and the other hiking trail loop at Mile Square Regional Park is a 1.5 mile loop. The trails go around the park with the 3 mile loop going around both the North and South Lakes and the 1.5 mile loop going around the South Lake. There are plenty of great views along this hiking/walking trail at Mile Square Park and with the lakes you are likely to see people fishing as well as spot lots of different types of Orange County birds. As indicated, these two hiking trail loops at Mile Square Park are more of an urban hike, with the trail being paved, and a lack of native coastal sage scrub. Mile Square Regional Park offers a fun outdoor experience even though you are in the middle of Orange County's urban core. There are trail maps available of the two loops at the Mile Square Regional Park Ranger Station. Both loops have vita course stations which are workout stations for those that are interested. For a trail map for Mile Square Regional Park click Here. Additionally, the Mile Square Regional Park brochure can be found Here.

Additionally, Mile Square Regional Park (Mile Square Park) has a 20 acre nature area with a natural landscape. The nature area at Mile Square Park showcases Southern California native plants such as coastal sage scrub, chaparral, grasslands, dessert creosote scrub and valley woodlands. The area also features a riparian area, freshwater marsh, and a hummingbird and butterfly garden. Future, development of the area will include a sensory garden and a display on the early use of native plants. This is a perfect place to take the children for a first nature experience or just to go and enjoy. The O.C. Park Service is trying to develop a more natural settings for those who reside in North Orange County as most of the Wilderness/Open Spaces are located in South Orange County.

Furthermore, in this nature area of Mile Square Park, the O.C. Park Service is now offering a One-Night Overnight Camping Facility available to reserve for organized Youth Groups. Camp Sycamore at Mile Square Park is designed as a "First Camping Experience" for children between the ages of 6 yrs. old to 12 yrs. old only. The camp has 24 hr. restroom facilities, a picnic shelter with tables, barbecues, sinks and a camp fire ring. There is an area for tent set-up and a security fence surrounds the entire camp. For reservation information please call the Mile Square Regional Park office, Mon-Fri, 8am to 3pm at 714-973-3197. There is a small reservation fee payable at the park office, and an Orange County Public Property Encroachment Permit is required to insure Youth Group liability insurance coverage. This is a great way to introduce young children to the joys of overnight camping in a natural setting that is safe!

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I enjoyed our visit to Mile Square Regional Park. Mile Square Park is literally 1 square mile as its name indicates (640 acres). The Mile Square Park trails are in a different setting than any other trail write-up on our blog as Mile Square Regional Park is located in a very urban area and is definitely an urban hike. If you are looking for a wilderness feel you will not find that on most of the trails in this park. However, there are many nice aspects to nature in Mile Square Park, such as the lakes and the easy access of the trails. We visited this park in conjunction with the lake stocking for the fishing derby that was recently held at Mile Square Regional Park. There were a large number of birds there that were ready to feed on the fish in the lake.

This park is perfect for those living in North Orange County that only have a short amount of time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Mile Square Regional Parks two lakes offer great views and provide a very tranquil setting for those around it. The park is very kid friendly and would be a great option to visit for those looking to expose smaller children to a nature setting. The 20 acres nature center at Mile Square Park is perfect for kids. The park rangers at Mile Square Regional Park are very helpful, feel free to ask them any questions that you make have about the park or about Mile Square Regional Park's history. It will be neat to return to this park in a year and see what has been done with the 20 acre nature center, as the OC Park service is planning some exciting exhibits and improvements. The first picture on our Mile Square Regional Park trail write-up is of the North Lake. The second, third, fourth, and sixth pictures on this post are from the 20 acre nature center. The seventh picture is of two Canadian Geese landing at the North Lake. Also note, a portion of the 640 acres are dedicated to three 18 hole golf courses, so if you are looking to combine a visit to Mile Square Regional Park with a round of golf, click Here.

Rating: Elevation Gain: minimal (Very Easy), Distance: 3 Miles Roundtrip (easy). For the shorter loop: Elevation Gain: minimal (Very Easy), Distance: 1.5 Miles Roundtrip (Easy). For the nature center: Elevation Gain: minimal (Very Easy), Distance: Under half a Mile Roundtrip (Very Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours for 3 mile loop, 1 hour for 1.5 mile loop.


View Mile Square Regional Park in a larger map

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post! I have been looking for a place close to work to do a brisk walk during lunch.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love Mile Square Park. I'm there daily and enjoy the Nature's Habitat so much. I saw some beautiful birds there this morning and was looking online to see what types they were, that's how I came across your Hiking Blog. I truly enjoyed reading about one of my favorite places near home.
    Thank you, Pauline Dowell

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Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the trails we have posted on our blog or about their own hiking experiences in general.