Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mission Viejo Open Space Hike

The Mission Viejo Open Space hike is a fun urban hiking area in Orange County. This Mission Viejo hiking trail is one that Ashley and I have done many times. The Mission Viejo Open Space hike is more of an urban hike as it is a small patch of natural coastal sage scrub community surrounded by the urbanization of Mission Viejo. This hike however does offer some amazing views of Southern California. This is a local hiking area in Mission Viejo and you are likely to see other people hiking on this Mission Viejo Trail and enjoying this fun hiking area in Mission Viejo. If you are looking for a true wilderness experience, this hike is probably not one for you. For more pictures of this hike make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: There is not one formal trailhead for a hike at Mission Viejo's Open Space hiking area, but there are multiple options to enter Mission Viejo's open space. The easiest one is from the Top of Vista Del Lago. From the 5 freeway exit Alicia Parkway and head towards the Santa Ana Mountains. In several miles make a left onto Marguerite Parkway. Make a left onto Vista Del Lago and head to the top of the hill. Park at the top of the hill and the access points to the Open Space are on your left hand side. There is no cost for parking.

Description of Hike: This is an urban hiking trail in Mission Viejo that alternates between views of homes in the greater Mission Viejo/Orange County area and the views of the 62 plus acres of natural open space surrounding these homes. This hike in Orange County allows for multiple options as there are paved hiking paths as well as dirt hiking trails in the Mission Viejo Open Space. The Mission Viejo Open Space hiking area is the perfect mix of hiking variety for hikers. There are a number of well established trails that will give you the opportunity to make your hike longer or shorter to tailor it to the time you want to spend hiking in the Mission Viejo Open Space area. One minor downside of these hiking trails in Mission Viejo is that some of the trails, from time to time, accumulate trash on them because people don't pick up after themselves. Ashley and I always try and make it a point to pick up trash on trails where possible. The only downside of the hike here is there are no trail markers or printable maps, however most of the trails are visible to the naked eye and you can easily figure out which way to go.

Further Thoughts: This is a great location in Mission Viejo that offers sweeping views of Orange County and Southern California. It is the perfect place to watch the sunset, or do a picnic, or to enjoy a nice hike in Mission Viejo. There is plenty of wildlife that calls this natural area in Mission Viejo home from Hawks and Turkey Vultures, to Raccoons and Bobcats, to gopher snakes. All of which Ashley and I have seen in this area as we have hiked here multiple times. You can also find many woodrat dens and lemonade berry plants on sections of the Mission Viejo Open Space hike. Even though this area looks like it is surrounded by urbanization a surprising amount of wildlife still inhabits the Mission Viejo Open Space area.

You will likely observe other people out enjoying this area when you hike here. Sections of this hike offer great views of Lake Mission Viejo and Saddleback Mountain. On a clear day you can see portions of the San Gabriel Mountains, Catalina Island, and Downtown Los Angeles. The hike in the Mission Viejo Open Space area offers great views of the entire Santa Ana Mountain range. This hike is in close proximity to Mission Viejo's Wilderness Glen which is another fun hiking trail in Mission Viejo.

If you are looking for a hike that will offer you a true wilderness feel, this is probably not the one for you. But if you are looking to do a hike in Orange County with the family or are just looking to get some good exercise this is a great option, especially for people near Mission Viejo. The trail in blue on the Google Map below is the normal rout for the mileage indicated on the rating section below. There is a great option while hiking in the Mission Viejo Open Space area, which will make it longer which is indicated in green on the Google Map below. This will add another 300 feet of elevation gain and will increase the hike by a mile.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 200 feet (Easy), Distance: 2.3 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 hour. 


Mission Viejo Open Space (This Post)

View Mission Viejo Open Space in a larger map


  1. Hi there Brian & Ashley, I have hiked many trails around where I live around the Laguna Canyon area. The hills this year are so beautiful with all the rain we got this last winter. It is the greenest I have ever seen it. But the brush is real thick due to some much over growth, in some areas on the trails it gets pretty narrow. But it makes it kind of more adventuress, which is pretty fun.I'm not a snake lover by any means, so I'm not looking forward to running into them this summer. That is why i hike mostly in the late fall and winter times.I enjoyed your pictures and I will be checking back to see more.


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.