Live Oak Trail to Ramakrishna Monastery is an out and back hike in O’Neill Regional Park that boasts 360-degree views of lush landscape and mountain ranges.
I love reading inspirational quotes like this one as a way to foster gratitude and purpose at the start of each day. There have been so many that I have read at just the right time in my life, and when I read the above words earlier this week, they cut deep into my soul. I have been stressed at work and struggling to find ways to combat my anxiety. To make matters worse, it had been a month since I got a good, long hike in with my husband. After reading this quote last Thursday and hiking Live Oak Trail to Ramakrishna Monastery this weekend, my heart is at peace and my mind focused on the challenges that lie ahead.
This trail is situated in O’Neill Regional Park, which is a part of the OC Parks network. Entrance to the park is only $3 on weekdays and bumps up to $5 on Saturday and Sunday unless you have an OC Park Pass. The trail starts at a moderate incline through a forested setting. As the path continues, it also narrows and, true to its name, has poison oak growing alongside it, so keep an eye out for the plant’s signature three leaves (the purple flower picture above was growing in the middle of a poison oak triad of leaves).
The path eventually flattens as it runs alongside a ridge, which features views to the right of mountains awash with bright green and contrasting rock. The dynamic scenery was a joy to witness and elevated the sense of peace and mindfulness I carried with me at the start of and throughout this hike.
As stunning as the mountain ranges were during the first 1.5 miles of Live Oak, the lush landscape surrounding the pond to the left of the trail where Vista Trail intersects is the best place to take pictures on this hike. It was difficult to get a good shot that didn’t include fellow hikers exploring the area, but no matter what angle you look at it, the view can’t be beat.
Once you pass the pond the trail curves left and downhill before it reaches the gates to the Monastery. We came upon the entrance outside of visiting hours, but the gates were still open and plenty of cars were parked there with visitors enjoying the grounds. We didn’t have time to peek into the gift shop directly to the right after you enter, but we did meander around the main building and surrounding gardens. It is a very tranquil spot and ideal for continuing any peaceful reverie brought on by hiking to the Monastery.
I hope that whatever load you are carrying this week is made less burdensome by a change in scenery, and I also hope it is as naturally beautiful as the one I got to witness while on this hike.
Did you hike Live Oak to the Ramakrishna Monastery? If so, I would love to hear from you!
In Love, Peace, and Hiking ~ xo