Friday, August 6, 2010

Riley Wilderness Park

Riley Wilderness Park is one of OC Parks gems and offers some of the best hiking in Orange County. Recently Ashley and I had a chance to get out to Riley Wilderness Park. This is one of our favorite hikes and is well worth the trip if you have never been. It is one of our local spots and is a hiking location we recommend to many people.

Directions to Trailhead: A map of the area can be found below with the Google map. To get to Riley Wilderness Park, coming from the 5 freeway, exit at OSO parkway and head toward the Santa Ana Mountains going through MissionViejo. Take OSO parkway through Ladera Ranch and pass the end of the 241 toll road. Just before you reach the entrance to Coto De Caza, the entrance to Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park is on the right hand side. Remember to bring 3 dollars for parking. Also, they have machines that accept credit cards. There is ample parking at this OC Parks parking area.

Description of Hike: Riley Wilderness Park is always in great shape and the trails in the park are well maintained by the people at OC Parks. It is one of the smaller wilderness parks at only 523 acres but it packs a punch. We hiked a loop using the Wagon Wheel Canyon Trail to the Oak Canyon Trail to the Mule Deer Trail to the Pheasant Run Trail back to the Wagon Wheel Canyon trail which is approximately a 3.5 mile loop. The elevation gain is minimal, approximately 300 ft. There are several trails at Riley Wilderness Park which means you can tailor your hike to how easy or difficult you want to make it. Park maps are also available at the trailheads. For a printable map of the hiking trails at Riley Wilderness Park click Here. Riley Wilderness Park also has a great Nature Center that is opening primarily on the weekends. They have a lot of interactive exhibits for hikers of all age to enjoy. For the Riley Wilderness Park brochure, click Here.

Further Thoughts: This is one of Ashley and I's local hiking spots. This time was especially fun because of the wildlife that we saw while on this hike at Riley Wilderness Park. We saw several deer while out hiking as well as an arroyo toad, which was pretty cool to see. The park is only about 500 acres, but it offers hikers sweeping views of the Santa Ana Mountains and the surrounding Orange County area.

This park is truly a gem in Orange County, especially with the amount of wildlife the park has. Every single time we have gone to this park we have seen deer as well as other wildlife. The trails are in great shape and there is a very neat interpretive center. This is a great area for the whole family to go hiking.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 300 ft. (Easy), Distance: 3.5 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.


August 6, 2010 (This Post)

November 28, 2010

August 7, 2011

View Riley Wilderness Park Hike in a larger map

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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.