Directions to Trailhead: To get to the trailhead to hike at Canyon Community Park, take the 55 freeway heading toward the beach. Once you exit at the end of the 55 freeway, head west (right) on 19th Street. Go approximately 1 mile and make a right onto Monrovia followed by a quick left onto Arbor. After this turn, the park entrance is just ahead on your right. Drive to the lower parking area where there are a number of parking spaces. Parking is free and Canyon Community Park is open from dusk to dawn 7 days a week.
Description of Hike: The trails in Canyon Community park are well maintained by the City of Costa Mesa. The park is 35 acres large and contains a number of formal and informal trails. There are really two main hikes in Canyon Community Park in Costa Mesa, the Pond Loop and the Canyon Loop. There are no formal trail markers or maps at Canyon Community Park. For the Pond Loop, from the parking area follow the paved trail though the park, passed the bluffs, and to the lower section of Canyon Community Park. Once you get to the lower section of the park there is a bridge the trail passes over. Behind the bridge is a small pond. At the pond you will notice a formal and informal trail, these are the trails that make up the Pond Loop. Once you have completed the Pond Loop return to the parking area via the paved path. The Pond Loop is roughly 0.5 miles roundtrip with minimal elevation gain/loss. Unfortunately, there are no formal trail markers on the trails at Canyon Community Park which can make it a little difficult to navigate.
For the Canyon Loop, from the parking area, follow the paved path and crossover the canyon. Make your first right onto the dirt trail and head up the canyon to the upper section of Canyon Community Park. On your way up the canyon you will see a number of informal trails that crisscross the canyon. You can use these informal trails to explore than canyon area as it is normally dry, except during the rainy season. Continue following the main trail all the way up the canyon until it makes a loop near several homes at the upper end of the canyon. Follow the trail around on the opposite side of the canyon and it will lead you back to the parking area. The total distance for this loop is 0.7 miles roundtrip with minimal elevation gain/loss. Both loops can easily be done together. For a longer hike near Canyon Community Park, with a more secluded wilderness feel, you can also hike to the nearby Talbert Nature Preserve. Our write-up for that hike can be found Here. A Google Map is provided below which contains a diagram of the Pond Loop and the Canyon Loop.
Further Thoughts: Ashley and I enjoyed our hike in Canyon Community Park in Costa Mesa. We did this hike in conjunction with our hike at the Talbert Nature Preserve. There were a lot of people using the park when we went hiking here as it is popular with locals living near the park. This is a great hike for those with smaller kids, because the trails are well maintained and it is not to long. You also have a chance to see wildlife when you hike here, as we saw two red tailed hawks while at the park. Even though this is a small park, it packs a punch and is a hike the whole family can enjoy. Best of all you can make this hike longer and get more of a wilderness feel by accessing the Talbert nature Preserve through the trails in Canyon Community Park. Our write-up for our hike at the Talbert Nature Preserve can be found Here.
There were only two negatives to hiking at Canyon Community Park in Orange County; the homes close to the trails and the lack of a trail map/trail names. Hopefully, in the future, the City of Costa Mesa will create a formal trail map with trail names for the different trails at Canyon Community Park.
Rating: Pond Loop: Elevation Gain: < 100 ft. (Easy), Distance: 0.5 Miles Roundtrip (Easy); Canyon Loop: Elevation Gain: < 100 ft. (Easy), Distance: 0.7 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).
Time to Complete Hike: 30 minutes - 45 minutes.
MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON CANYON COMMUNITY PARK & THE TALBERT NATURE PRESERVE
Canyon Community Park (This Post)