Time: 2 hours
Elevation gain: 1,142 ft
When to go: Year round
One of my hiking friends introduced me to this trail on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and I figure I burned off at least part of the feast I ate the day before.
The start of this trail is non-obvious. We parked on a bend in a residential neighborhood then hoofed it up a concrete culvert. Not an auspicious beginning to the hike, but my friend John assured us this was the best way.
The trail meanders through a valley, then quickly winds up and around the hill to reach the ridge-line.
At this point, most of the trail is double-track and well defined. But watch closely for a narrower trail leading off along the ridge to the right. That’s our trail.
The trail gets steep at times, and the gravel can make your footing treacherous. Trekking poles are highly recommended!
Looking back down the narrow ridge-line trail, you are rewarded with amazing views across much of south Orange County. On this clear day, we even saw the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island on the horizon!
As you can see from this panorama, it doesn’t take long for you to feel miles away, even in Orange County. Whether you use this trail as a great, quick, fresh-air cardio workout or simply an opportunity to reset your clock, Small Peak beckons.
Small Peak Trail Map and Elevation Profile
Click on a thumbnail to view a larger version.