Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fun Fall Southern California Hikes

Fall is one of the great times to go hiking in Southern California. Fall in Southern California is the time when subtle seasonal changes start to be noticed by many, the weather begins to get a little cooler (but not too cold), and stronger winter storms are still a couple of months away. Ashley and I recommend the following five fun suggested Southern California hikes for the fall hiking season in Southern California. We have three suggested hikes in Orange County, one in the San Gabriel Mountains, and one in the San Diego Mountains.

1.) Sitton Peak: Sitton Peak is the quint essential fall hike as the it is possible to complete this longer hike even despite the fact the days are getting shorter. The total Distance for the hike to Sitton Peak and back is 10.3 miles with an elevation gain of approximately 2,200 feet. This hike offer stunning views from its summit and provide the hiker with views of lush riparian areas, the chance to see local wildlife, and the thrill of a steep ascent to the top of Sitton Peak in the Santa Ana Mountains.

2.) Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park (Dripping Cave): The hike to Dripping Cave is wonderful in the fall as the seasonal changes are evident in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. This is a fun fall hike the whole family will enjoy together because it is not strenuous as it is only a 5 mile roundtrip hike with approximately 100 feet of elevation gain. The main point of interest is Dripping Cave which is also known as Robbers Cave. Robbers, who would hold up local stage coaches going from San Diego to Los Angeles, would use Dripping Cave as their hideout to escape capture from law enforcement. When you visit Robbers Cave in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, you can still see the burn marks from the robber's camp fires on the roof of the cave.

3.) Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park (Borrego Trailhead to Red Rock Canyon): One of the Best Hikes in Orange County is the hike in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park to Red Rock Canyon. This is also a fun fall hike the whole family can do together as it is not to strenuous as it is 4.4 miles roundtrip with 500 feet of elevation gain. This hike goes through stretches of tall beautiful coastal live oak trees and sycamore trees to a beautiful red rock formation deep in the heart of Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.

4.) Cucamonga Peak: This is a strenuous 12-mile roundtrip hike with 3,939 feet of elevation gain to the summit of Cucamonga peak at 8,856 feet. We chose this hike because it offers spectacular views, it is less crowded than its close neighbor Mt. Baldy, and it is a hike that allows you to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall on a summit high above the Los Angeles basin. Additionally, you have the possibility of seeing big horn sheep on this hike. This is a hike that will only be accessible for a short while longer as once the seasons begin to change in Southern California it will begin to get cold and will become snowed in.

5.) Stonewall Peak (Cuyamaca Rancho State Park): This is an fun short hike in the Mountains outside of San Diego. The fall season brings a reprieve from the summer heat in this area and this hike is spectacular in fall because it offers great views. Stonewall Peak, standing at 5,730 feet tall, offers sweeping views of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and the greater Southern California area. On a clear day from the top of Stonewall Peak, you can see the Salton Sea and Catalina Island at the same time! This is a 4 mile roundtrip hike with 850 feet of elevation gain that can easily be done as the days continue to get shorter.


  1. This is a great list, I have only done a couple on here, def going to have to try out some of the others, I love to see the fall colors.

  2. also picked Top 5 Trails. Take a look - they're all scenic and very easy trails too.

  3. So excited to get outside this weekend!


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.