Oso Creek Trail (Mission Viejo)

The Oso Creek Trail is the backbone of Mission Viejo's hiking trail system. Ashley and I have hiked portions of the Oso Creek Trail multiple times. The Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo is more of an urban hike, but it is still a great trail, especially for families with kids. For those that are seeking more of a wilderness setting, this may not be as enjoyable for you because of the close proximity of homes and roads along the Oso Creek Trail. The Oso Creek Trail is a fun day hike in Mission Viejo as it is located in the heart of the City of Mission Viejo.

Directions to Trailhead: There are several trailheads for the Oso Creek Trail (outlined on the Google map below), but these directions are for the southern most trailhead. Exit Oso Parkway from the 5 freeway and head toward the mountains (going toward Mission Viejo). Make a left onto Marguerite parkway. You want to make a right into the trailhead parking lot just south of the Del Taco in the shopping center. It is past the fire station and if you pass the Del Taco, you have gone too far. The trail begins there. Parking is free and there is no cost to use the trail. One potential problem is this trailhead only has a couple of parking spaces, which can fill up on a busy weekend. Another trailhead is located at the Norman Murray Community and Senior Center.  

Description of Hike: The majority of the Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo is paved. It has several different routes which hikers can take. The Oso Creek Trail has a collection of natural and cultural attractions along its banks to make it worth the Orange County hiker’s visit. En route on the Oso Creek Trail, you will encounter a handsome oak grove, a meadow, a butterfly garden, peace obelisk and a plant maze. The city of Mission Viejo does a good job of maintaining this trail and there is minimal elevation gain along the Oso Creek Trail until you reach the Jeronimo Open Space Trail. 

The Oso Creek Trail is the chief passageway in Mission Viejo’s trail system. The path links to the 2-mile-long Jeronimo Open-Space Trail (18 acres) and connections with Naciente Ridge Trail. The Nacient Ridge Trail extends along the ridge by Olympiad Road and eventually descends to Arroyo Trabuco at the city’s eastern boundary. Ashley and I did a Round trip loop on the Oso Creek Trail which is approximately 5.5 miles roundtrip with minimal elevation gain. Our loop did not include the Jeronimo Trail or the future trail space which still acts as an unofficial extension of the Oso Creek Trail.

Further Thoughts: This was a fun short Orange County day hike for Ashley and I. It is more of a walking trail, since it is paved and close to urban areas. As long as you don't mind the close proximity to homes it is a great hiking trail in Mission Viejo. This is a nice relaxing urban hike for anyone that doesn't have time to get away to a trail that is located in more of a wilderness area. One of the great things about the Oso Creek Trail is there is always running water in the Oso Creek. The Oso Creek Trail offers tranquil sounds along the majority of the hike. The scenery and plants along the Oso Creek Trail are very nice as well.

The Oso Creek Trail is a popular trail with Mission Viejo locals that live near the trail. You are likely to see many people while you are out hiking on the Oso Creek Trail. There is also a chance of observing wildlife which use the Oso Creek as a source of water. We have classified the Oso Creek Trail as an urban hike because it is close to some of the houses and roads in Mission Viejo. Even thought this is not the hike for those who are looking for a true wilderness feel, the Oso Creek Trail is a great hike for the whole family to do together or for those with a limited amount of time to go hiking. The trail and the area along the Oso Creek is well maintained and is very popular with Mission Viejo residents.

Rating: Elevation Gain: Minimal (Easy), Distance: 5.5 Miles Roundtrip (Moderate).

Time to Complete Hike: 2 - 3 hours.


Oso Creek Trail (This Post)

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