Fall in Orange County lately has been less than desirable, however, the weather was cool enough a few weekends back so my husband and I went on a late afternoon hike in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. We usually start our hikes through Whiting Ranch at Borrego Canyon Trail. This time, we chose to hike along the backside of the park, starting at Concourse Park.
The trailhead of Concourse Road lies to the right of the parking lot at Concourse Park and is all downhill until you arrive at the start of Whiting Road. Whiting Road stretches 0.8 miles and starts off downhill before ascending uphill for the majority of the trail. I had to stop a couple times on the way up Whiting Road, since my baby boy bump was pushing on my lungs, but once we made it to the top the view was incredible. Straight ahead are the Saddleback Mountains and, with the day slowly coming to an end, their tops were tinged with an amber glow, highlighted by the cloudless sky in the background.
From the top of Whiting Road, turn right on Cactus Hill Road, where the view of the mountain ranges continue. The loop takes you on Cactus Hill Road for 0.6 miles and then continues right on Santiago Rancho Road, before connecting to Sleep Hollow Trail. Aside from the view of Saddleback on Whiting Road, the wildlife we witnessed on Sleep Hollow Trail along with the fading light sifting through the trees made this part of the trail our favorite. Plus, with Halloween around the corner, hiking on a trail named after one of my favorite scary tales, was a great way to get in the spooky spirit.
We rarely hike this late in the day, so watching the sun set behind a thick forest, was quite the pre-Halloween treat. In addition, thanks to the cooling temperature and shaded path of Sleepy Hollow Trail, once it connected back to Whiting Road and we had to hike the steep incline up Concourse, I did not have to worry about getting overheated. After arriving at our car, we stopped at our favorite Thai place, Rice & Spice, where we haven’t eaten since moving from Rancho Santa Margarita. All in all, a very successful outing for this nature-loving pregnant lady 🙂
Did you hike Whiting Road & Sleepy Hollow Trail Loop? I would love to hear your thoughts below!
In Love, Peace, & Halloween Hiking ~ xo