Fall colored cacti and twisting trees, line your path while hiking the 4.5 West Ridge Trail to Bell Canyon loop in Casper Wilderness Park.
Somehow, we always find ourselves hiking in Casper Wilderness Park on a rare, overcast, drizzly day in Orange County. Our last hike in the park took us along the red, dirt paths of Cougar Pass and Bell Canyon. This time around, we started our hike to the left of the parking area on Nature Trail loop, made a brief connection on Loskorn, then made our way up West Ridge Trail.
We took our time meandering through the flat, maze-like path on Nature Trail loop. Fall is, by far, my favorite season and I was so happy to see some bright, fall colors on our journey. Coupled with the gray sky and light rain, this hike felt like a special autumn treat, especially after the weeks of heat that we have been experiencing in Southern California.
After less than a mile on Nature Loop Trail, we hiked the short distance along Lorkson trail, bereft with wide and reaching trees, and then turned right onto West Ridge Trail. This part of the trail has ample cover, though we didn’t need it on this cloudy, September day.
West Ridge Trail totals 2.3 miles and will take you through most of the park, however, we just hiked on it for less than a mile before turning right on Star Rise Trail. The OC Parks map of Casper Wilderness Park flags Star Rise Trail as easy, but I beg to disagree! Maybe the fact that I was in the middle for my first trimester made it more tiring, but even my husband could attest that this part of the hike is the sole reason I consider this loop to be moderate.
In addition to the unexpected incline on this hike (since Star Rise trail is incorrectly marked as easy!), we also received a happy surprise a the top that included a sweeping view of the park. It lifted my spirit to see the swath of green covering the hills below us, despite the continued heat in So Cal and gave me hope for a lush fall and winter ahead.
The last leg of this loop takes you along Bell Canyon Trail, a path we also hiked during our last visit to Casper Wilderness Park. This trail cuts through the middle of the park and connects to so my other offshoots, so it’s hard to avoid – not that you would want to! After turning right on Bell Canyon Trail, our mile-long journey back to our car was downhill or flat and accompanied by rugged, green nature the whole way. Casper Wilderness Park truly puts the “wild” in “wilderness” with all of its untamed nature and is the perfect spot to enjoy a fall hike in Orange County.
Did you hike West Ridge Trail to Bell Canyon Loop? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
In Love, Peace, and Fall Hiking ~ xo