Walking Salt Creek Beach Trail is the perfect way to enjoy one of South Orange County’s prettiest beaches on an overcast day. If you have a busy weekend ahead and are trying to decide between a hike or the beach, walking Salt Creek Trail is a perfect compromise. At six miles with plenty of natural surroundings, it would qualify for a hike, but I have a hard time labeling anything that is entirely paved a “hike”. However, I’ll leave that unimportant detail up to you.
The walk down to to the beach from the parking lot is quite steep. Just remember that you’ll have to climb up it on the way back, but your legs will be plenty warm by then. Plus you get to pass through this adorable tunnel with an underwater mural painted on it. Whether on your way out or coming back, it’s a great place for a picture.
Once you reach the bottom of the hill, turn right to continue on the paved path. The trail continues straight for another half a mile before veering right again. As you walk, the beach below is in full view – even if you blink, you can’t miss it. To your right lies Salt Creek Beach Park, where, fun fact, my husband and I took our wedding pictures. My parents also renewed their vows on Salt Creek Beach, so this whole area holds a very special place in my heart.
Once it starts to incline, the path runs alongside Monarch Beach Resort Golf Course. Golf carts aren’t allowed on the trail, so don’t worry about getting in the way of any golfers on a mission. As the path continues the next few miles, the course greens blend into a sea of lush vegetation, better known as Salt Corridor Regional Park. Although there is a busy road just beyond the park, we could only hear the sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the cool breeze.
The turnaround point for this walk/hike is at Fratello’s Italian Restaurant, where you will see the path connect to a sidewalk. As you walk back towards the beach, a sliver of the ocean is instantly visible on the horizon. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but you must play in the sand and waves either before or after you finish the trail – or, better yet, both 🙂
Salt Creek is my favorite beach in Orange County, and not just for the sentimental reasons I mentioned above. It is a popular spot for surfers, swimmer, and sunbathers alike. Also, my family and I will often take a picnic down to Salt Creek Beach Park to watch the sunset. Open container laws still apply at the park, but if you’re an outdoor enthusiast like myself, I’m certain bending the rules is already a part of your repertoire 😉
I love being a Californian for many reasons; one of the most important being close to the beach. Although I don’t visit beaches like Salt Creek and others as often as I would like, there is something freeing about living so close to the open ocean. It’s a feeling I can’t put into words, but knowing it’s there, waiting for me pay a visit, feeds my nature-loving soul and wild spirit.
Did you get a chance to walk Salt Creek Beach Trail? If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
In Love, Peace, and Hiking ~ xo