Hiking Barbara’s Lake Loop

Hiking Barbara’s Lake Loop

Barabara’s Lake Loop is an easy, 3-mile hike abundant with a cool, ocean air, a lush, hilly landscape, and a view of Orange County’s largest natural lake.

Whenever we are unsure of where to hike, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is one of our go-to spots. There is a huge, network of trails that allow for a wide variety of out and back treks and hiking loops. Despite the warm, fall weather, I was determined to get in a hike to celebrate the first weekend of October. A 3-mile hike starting from the James Dilley Preserve parking lot that loops around Barbara’s Lake was the perfect antidote to my desire to be out in nature.

Entrance to Canyon Trail

In addition to being a perfect hike for a hotter than usual fall season, Barbara’s Lake Loop is also a great option for female hikers who are expecting. I started my second trimester this weekend and am just beginning to get my energy back. There is a little bit of an elevation gain on this hike, around 350 feet, but most of it is flat. For the first part of this hike, along Canyon Trail, there many forested portions that offer much-needed shade for this easily, overheated mama to be.

Large Trees on Canyon Trail

Canyon Trail is exactly one-mile and, aside from the upcoming view of Barbara’s Lake, is the prettiest part of this loop. Take your time to step off the trail and check out some of the gorgeous trees that line your path along the way.

Start of the Incline on Canyon Trail
View Along Canyon Trail
Switchbacks on Canyon Trail

The view at the top of Canyon Trail highlights the lush, hilly landscape that is typical on any hike in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. I don’t usually include pictures of trail signs unless the route following them is confusing, so if you are not taking a map with you, keep a close eye out for the markers and directions I provide below.

Sign #1 to Follow at the Top of Canyon Trail to get to Edison Trail
Sign #2 to Follow at the Top of Canyon Trail to get to Edison Trail

Once you reach the top of Canyon Trail, continue straight ahead and you will see a sign simply marked “Trail”. Follow that sign and then you will see another sign marked “Ridgetop” on the side facing you and “Canyon/Mariposa” on the other side. Neither of these trails is the one you need to take next. Once you see the above sign, make a left and you will soon come upon a trail sign marked “Edison”, the next trail on this loop. After a little while on Edison, you will come to another fork in the road with three off-shoots, none of the marked; take the middle path to continue on Edison Trail.

Barbara’s Lake

Befitting to its name, this loop ends with a 1/4 of a mile on Barbara’s Lake Trail, with another mile along The Lake Trail. The first, open view of the lake offers some opportunities for pictures, however, the best vantage point is at the end of Barbara’s Lake Trail where you will get an unobstructed view of the calm water, wild trees, and some rolling hills in the background.

Since I had a craving and am determined to act like it is fall despite the temperate, we got some lunch at Board & Brew at our old stomping grounds in Rancho Santa Margarita and stopped off at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for some caramel apples 🙂


Did you hike Barbara’s Lake Loop? If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

In Love, Peace, and Fall Hiking ~ xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi there! Chasing Belle is where I share my favorite hikes, healthy living tips, and love of the outdoors! The world is a big, beautiful place and I plan on chasing down every square inch of it :)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.