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Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park is located just 20 minutes east of Irvine in Trabuco Canyon. It comprises approximately 2,500 acres of riparian and oak woodland canyons, rolling grassland hills, coastal sage scrub, and chaparral. The park’s features include biking trails, hiking trails, and one of Orange County’s most admired rock formations, Red Rock Canyon. There are three streams that run intermittently throughout the area, weaving between historical artifacts of cattle ranching days from the early 1900s.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park is not a traditional park with playgrounds and picnic areas. This is a wilderness park that consists primarily of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. Please stay on designated trails. Electric vehicles including ebikes and escooters are not permitted on the trails here.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park Details 

Address: 26701 Portola Parkway, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610
Park Hours: Sun – Sat: 7:00 AM – Sunset
Parking: $3 daily. Machine accepts $1 bills and quarters or Visa/Master Card and OC Parks Annual Pass.
Website: https://www.ocparks.com/parks-trails/whiting-ranch-wilderness-park
Phone: 949-923-2245
Dogs: Not permitted at Whiting Ranch
Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park Map

What’s At Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Trails

The park has 17 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking, and equestrian use. There are 23 trails in total to explore. The Red Rock Canyon and Billy Goat trails are reserved for hikers only. The Red Rock Canyon trail is an easy rating four mile trail that brings you to the unique scenic red rock formations. The trails are also a part of the OC Parks Regional Trails system which connects to other OC parks nearby. Connected trails include the Edison Riding and Hiking Trail, Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail, Aliso Creek Bikeway, and Aliso-Serrano Riding and Hiking Trail.

Access to Red Rock Canyon: The best way to get to Red Rock Canyon is to park in the Market Place St. staging area off of Portola Parkway. From here, take the easy Borrego Canyon Trail. This has a very slight incline as you make your way to the top of the hill and has sections of both shade and full sun. There is a brief connection to the Mustard Road Trail before you meet the Red Rock Canyon Trail. The Red Rock Canyon Trail is rated easy, however, keep in mind that this is not flat, or paved. This portion of the trail can be rough and rocky, and there are a few areas that may be somewhat difficult for inexperienced hikers or small children to navigate on their own. There are port-a-potties at the trail head near the parking area, but there are no restrooms on the way, and no flush toilets.

Red Rock Canyon Trail
Red Rock Canyon Trail

All trails are open to hikers. Equestrians are permitted on all trails except for Billy Goat Trail and Red Rock Canyon Trail. Mountain Bikers are also permitted on all trails except for Billy Goat and Red Rock Canyon. Bikes are allowed on Borrego Canyon Trail but one way only (going uphill).

This is a very popular spot for mountain biking with trails suitable for all skill and experience levels.

McFadden Ranch House

This historically protected landmark was built by the McFadden Brothers and their family along with farm workers in 1915. The shady porch with comfortable Adirondack chairs are a welcoming rest stop on hot days while hiking the Aliso Creek Trail. The McFadden Ranch House is now utilized as a Ranger Station. 

The McFadden Ranch House is located off of El Toro Road between Glenn Ranch Road and Ridgeline Road. It is most easily accessible from the Aliso Serrano Bikeway. Port-a-potties and water are available here for hikers and bikers.

Restrooms

There are three restroom locations at Whiting Ranch. These are port-a-potties, not flushable toilets. The three locations are:

  • Market Place St. Staging Area off of Portola Parkway (26701 Portola Parkway)
  • Raptor Rd./Coyote Brush Rd. Staging Area (27901 Glenn Ranch Road)
  • McFadden Ranch House

Mountain Lion Warning 

There is mountain lion activity through this area. Please do not hike or jog alone. Travel in groups and keep children near you. If you encounter a mountain lion keep your ground, do not run, and wave your hands and shout.


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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