There is nothing like a brisk walk to put you in a better mood. No seriously; walks have shown to add many benefits to your life. They help your heart stay strong, they are a way to maintain or lose weight, walks are proven to improve your sleep, and even live a longer life. A thirty minute walk, five times a week is the The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommendation to reduce the risk of disease and to simply be happier all around.
I know not everyone is a fan or even are able to enjoy the rocky, dusty, and uneven dirt trails I frequent. But do not let this deter you from going for a walk.
Here in Orange County there are many, many miles of well paved and pristine walking paths to enjoy. From salty breeze ones on the beach to hidden urban gyms, here are the places to go to take a stroll.
Huntington Beach Bike Path
What else is more classic Southern California vibes than the iconic Huntington Beach? The beach is mild, beautiful and known as Surf City for its excellent waves. So a walk along the coast on this paved path is a must!
As you walk you will pass many fire pits, volleyball courts, basketball courts, and pristine sandy beaches. Huntington Beach is great to hang out for the whole family all day after your walk.
- Length: 8 miles
- Trail End Points: This trail extends from the south where the Santa Ana River meets the Ocean at PCH (SR1) and extends north all the way to Warner and Pacific Coast Highway.
- Fees: To park at one of the large lots for Huntington Beach City Beach, Bolsa Chica State Beach or Huntington State Beach you must pay a fee. There are free parking spots in the public lots at Warner and PCH.
Crystal Cove Walking Trail
The paved, accessible bluff top trail at Crystal Cove extends from Little Treasure Cove near Pelican Point to the Moro Cave overlook at the Reef Point area. The trail is approximately 3 miles long and sits on the bluffs overlooking Crystal Cove State Beach with panoramic ocean views and overlook points at either end to take in the scenery.
Crystal Cove is a Marine Protected Area with some of the cleanest, most natural beaches in Orange County. There are restrooms located within the state park along the trail.
- Length: 3 Miles
- Trail End Points: Little Treasure Cove to the North and Moro Cave overlook to the south
- Fees: Parking at Crystal Cove State Park is $15 per day
Orange County Great Park
The Orange County Great Park includes plenty of paved multiuse trails plus additional decomposed granite pedestrian trails. The Great Park Trails connect the surrounding neighborhoods to this local community hub where visitors can find numerous amenities including sports fields, restrooms, playgrounds, and more. Surrounded by plenty of natural landscaping, a stroll at the Great Park is just the right getaway to relax and enjoy a walk in the fresh air.
- Length: 1.5 miles+
- Trail End Points: Magnet (north of Great Park Blvd) to Irvine Blvd
- Fees: Free
San Clemente Beach Trail
This trail is quite unique in that it shares it’s space with an active Amtrak line with service between Los Angeles and San Diego. Add in the gorgeous views along the sandy shore and you have a great place for a stroll.
The trail is technically not paved but consists of pack down sand from the beach shore. This makes it still good for strollers and bikes without any issues with rocks, tree roots, or other difficult terrain.
San Clemente Beach Trail boasts of flower covered cliffs, an impressive bridge, and a pier to explore. You can easily make it a day outing and visit the numerous picnic spots, restaurants, and shops located by the Pier Bowl.
- Length: 2.3 miles
- Trail End Points: You can start the trail at the San Clemente/North Beach Metrolink Station and finish up at San Clemente State Beach
- Fees: Free
Jeffrey Open Space Trail
This trail running through the Irvine Ranch area is actually split into three different panels. The first is an urban one where you can check out the gorgeous homes, cute shops and open space. The next segment picks up at the Walnut Trail which parallels a rail track. Finally the third section goes past a couple trail connections to end at a pedestrian bridge spanning I-405.
Although Jeffrey Open Space Trail may not be the most secluded path, it has won numerous awards for its concept and design. From the well manicured landscape to how the designers incorporated a series of intaglio panels in the concrete bed of the trail; you will definitely enjoy this walk.
- Length: 4.1 miles
- Trail End Points: Pick up points are where Jeffrey Rd. and Portola Pkwy. meet; finish at University Trail and Juanita Moe Trail at I-405
- Fees: free
Salt Creek Trail
This walking path is more of a plan-your-adventure trek versus a straight shot. There are multiple side trails and options to choose from as you walk your way through the two neighborhoods of Laguna Niguel and Dana Point.
The Salt Creek Trail has lovely views of the ocean as you make your way on the bluff. From there you make your way to Chapparosa Community Park with its playground, volleyball courts, and restrooms. If you are still feeling up to extend your walk you can opt to continue on the Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail which connects in Laguna Niguel Regional Park.
- Length: 5 miles
- Trail End Points: Begin this trail at Laguna Niguel Regional Park on Alicia Pkwy and finish at Salt Creek Beach Park in Dana Point
- Fees: There are parking fees at the lots in Laguna Niguel and Dana Point
Anaheim Coves Trails
This trail in Anaheim is a nice, family friendly easy one. You will walk along the Santa Ana River where it becomes a lake on a stroller friendly paved path. There is even some shade!
The Anaheim Coves Trails is clean and family friendly within the neighborhoods of Anaheim. It is a nice escape for anyone in the area.
- Length: 3 miles
- Trail End Points: Start at Pyrenees Ave and Majorca Street. Finish by S Phoenix Club Dr. and E Ball Rd.
- Fees: Free
The Tracks at Brea
This is a nicely paved two lane bike track with an adjacent gravel footpath just for walkers in the small city of Brea. Although this portion is just 4 miles, The Tracks at Brea are part of a quite larger 66 miles of trails and greenways in Orange County under the OC Loop network.
On one end there is Arovista Park with picnic spots, play areas and restrooms. Along the trail you can stop for a bite to eat, to shop, and enjoy the lovely residential neighborhood.
- Length: 4 miles
- Trail End Points: The end points are Arovista Park and Valencia Avenue at Nasa Street.
- Fees: Free
Now that you have a nice list of places for that heart and mind, here are some pro tips from a fellow walker.
- Always remember when going on a walk to bring water in order to stay hydrated. Southern California is notorious in dehydrating it’s residents.
- Other things you may want to bring along could include a good sunscreen to protect your skin, a shade hat and bug spray depending on the time of year.
I hope to see you outside walking very soon!
More Paved Walking Trails In Orange County
All Newport Beach Walking Trails: Link to Map and Descriptions
Bay View Trail: Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
Carbon Canyon Regional Park: 4442 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea, CA 92823
Cedar Grove Park: 11385 Pioneer Rd, Tustin, CA 92782
Carl Thornton Park: 1801 W Segerstrom Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92704
Centennial Regional Park: 3000 W Edinger Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92704
Central Park La Palma: 7821 Walker St, La Palma, CA 90623
Central Park East: 18000 Goldenwest St, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Central Park West: 6741 Central Park Dr, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Central Park RSM: 30842 La Miranda, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Clark Regional Park: 8800 Rosecrans Ave., Buena Park, CA 90621
Concourse Park: 18931 Saddleback Ranch Rd, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679
Craig Regional Park: 3300 State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92835
Creekside Park: 25743 Stonehill Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629
Eisenhower Park: 2864 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92865
Electric Avenue Greenbelt: 800-840 Electric Ave, Seal Beach, CA 90740
Estancia Park: 1900, Adams Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Garden Grove Park: 9301 Westminster Blvd., Garden Grove, CA 92844
Glenbrook Park: Aliso Viejo, 92656
Grand Park: 6101 City Lights Dr, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Green Valley Park: Fountain Valley, CA
Guadalupe Park: 381 S Walnut St, La Habra, CA 90631
Hart Park: 701 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866
Heritage Park: 34400 Old Golden Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629
Hillview Park: 28000 Wolverine Way, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
La Bonita Park: 1440 W Whittier Blvd, La Habra, CA 90631
Laguna Niguel Regional Park: 28241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Lake Mission Viejo: Start at 22760 Olympiad Rd, Mission Viejo, CA 92692 and loop around the lake
Lantern Bay Park: 25111 Park Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629
Liberty Park: 13900 Monroe St, Westminster, CA 92683
Lion’s Park: 570 W 18th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Mackay Park: 8732 Walker St, Cypress, CA 90630 (packed dirt)
Mason Regional Park: 18712 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612
Mile Square Regional Park: 16801 Euclid St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Oak Knoll Park: 9600 Graham St, Cypress, CA 90630
Old Reservoir Park: La Habra, CA 90631
Pioneer Road Park: 10250 Pioneer Rd, Tustin, CA 92782
Pittsford Park: 21701 Pittsford, Lake Forest, CA 92630
Rancho San Clemente Park: 150 Calle Aguila, San Clemente, CA 92672
Rancho Santa Margarita Lake: Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Ridgecrest Park: Eastwing & Aliso Creek Road, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Serrano Creek Park: 25101 Serrano Rd, Lake Forest, CA 92630
Sheep Hills Park: Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Silverado Trail: Start at Turtle Park 6525 Thelma Ave, Buena Park, CA 90620, Extends all the way to El Rancho Verde Park
Smith-Murphy Park: 5290 Cameron Dr, Buena Park, CA 90621
Stanton Central Park: 10660 Western Ave, Stanton, CA 90680 (paved and packed dirt)
Sunset Park: 34345 Calle Naranja, Dana Point, CA 92624
TeWinkle Park: 970 Arlington Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Tri-City Regional Park: 2301 Kraemer Blvd., Placentia, CA 92870
Twila Reid Park: 3100 W Orange Ave, Anaheim, CA 92804
Vista Del Valle Park: 1600 S Idaho St, La Habra, CA 90631
Wildcatter’s Park: 3301 E Santa Fe Rd, Brea, CA 92821
William Peak Park: 7225 El Dorado Dr, Buena Park, CA 90620
Yorba Regional Park: 7600 E. La Palma, Anaheim, CA 92807
|Places To Go For A Walk||Best Regional Parks in Orange County|
|Nature Centers in Orange County||Irvine Regional Park|
|Orange County 5Ks and Fun Runs||Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve|
Kaitlin is a former ballerina who now travels around the country in an 18-foot converted school bus. Her and her husband have welcomed 34 sweet children into their home the past eleven years. Although they would not be a forever home for all of them, they adopted their daughter buckets and are legal guardians to their son monkey. Follow their crazy adventures on Instagram @runawaymusbus