Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park (Portola Parkway Trailhead)

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park has great hiking trails and is a great place to see wildflowers in Orange County. This weekend Ashley and I had a chance to get out and hike at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park is a great park to hike in and is a local favorite of ours. This local wilderness park offers many hiking trails to explore and it is a very popular hiking destination for Orange County hikers and mountain bikers.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park's Portola Parkway Trailhead, take the Lake Forrest exit off of I-5, and head toward the Santa Ana Mountains. In about 5 miles you will make a Right onto Portola Parkway, go about a half mile and make a right at Glenn Ranch Road, into the shopping center. Make a right when possible in the shopping center and follow towards the end. The trailhead is at the center of the parking lot, close to Wahoos. There is no cost for parking and there is plenty of parting in this commercial center.

Description of Hike: The trails in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park are in good shape as they are maintained by the people at OC Parks.  You will always see people out hiking on the trails in Whiting Ranch any day of the week. The trails in the park are frequented by mountain bikers, especially on the weekends, so be on the lookout. We did a loop in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park that was 3.2 miles roundtrip with about a 500 foot elevation gain.

There was still water in some of the streams when we went to the park. It was a good sign to see Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park with water, as it is still recovering from the Santiago Fire in 2007. We took the trail underneath the bridge to the Serrano Road Trail which we took to the Serrano Cow Trail. We then took the Line Shack Trail to the Serrono Rd. Trail, where we turned on the Live Oak Trail. We then turned on the Raptor Trail which took as back to the Serrano Rd. Trail which we took back to the trailhead. We have provided a Google Map below and an additional map of the hiking trails in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park can be found Here. Additionally, the brochure for Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park can be found Here.
Further Thoughts: This was a great hike in Orange County's Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. If you go hiking on a Saturday, just understand that you need to be on the watch out for mountain bikers while at Whiting Ranch. All of the vegetation in the park is still green from the rainy season this year. If you like you can make this hike much longer, by going farther into the park on a couple of the trails. There are many hiking options and you can tailor your hike to your needs.

There are no trail maps available when you enter Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park from the Portola Trailhead, so make sure you take a map with you when you go to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park using this trailhead. While at the park always be on the watch out for local Orange County wildlife. We have seen deer in the past at this park and when we were there we saw lots of wildlife, from ground squirrels to turkey vultures. Also this time of year (Since we have had a good rainy season) this section of the Park has a lot of wildflowers. If you visit Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park after a good rainy season in Southern California you will find plenty of wildflowers while on your hike.
This loop offers a spectacular hike through the canyons in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park that are lined with large coastal oak trees and large sycamore trees. There is a seasonal stream that runs the length of the canyon, which when we went had plenty of water in it. One part of the loop has some elevation gain with great vistas of all Orange County. Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park offers great hiking trails and is a must do for any hiker that wants to get away for a couple of hours or a full day hike in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.
Rating: Elevation Gain: 500 ft. (Easy), Distance: 3.2 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.

Glenn Ranch Road Trailhead

Portola Parkway Trailhead (This Post)


  1. Nice post. Plenty of photos and useful information.Keep up the good work.

  2. You guys are too cute. I did a hike in this area (although not this exact one) back in 2008. It's definitely a fun one.


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