Carbon Canyon Regional Park Loop
Date Hiked: March 21, 2010
Best Season: Autumn Spring Summer Winter
Check Trail Conditions: Carbon Canyon Regional Park (714)973-3160 or (714)973-3162
- Distance: 3.4 miles round-trip
- Elevation Gain: 90 feet
- Route Type: Loop
- Trail Type: Mostly dirt
- Difficulty: Easy
Late last March, after all the rain, Jeff, our son Hunter and I took our precious Beagle puppy (then only 5-1/2 months old) on a short hike around Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea, California, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon (March 21st). Carbon Canyon Park is practically in our backyard, so it’s a great spot for us to head over to when we want to stretch our legs and experience nature, but only have an hour or two of free time.
Carbon Canyon Regional Park is a 124-acre park, operated by the County of Orange and located next to Chino Hill State Park. The park is most directly accessed by using the Lambert off-ramp from the 57 Freeway, which turns into Carbon Canyon Road (get directions here). It sits on the site of the former oil town of Olinda (you can read more about the park history here). Parking fees are charged on a daily basis ($3 weekdays, $5 weekends), or you can do like we do and purchase an OC Parks annual pass.
Due to the heavy rainy season, the grasses throughout the park were lush, tall and green! The perfect setting for a (leashed) puppy to romp and play.
This 3.4-mile round-trip hike is usually referred to as a nature trail, and it’s short, well-marked, and flat enough for anyone comfortable walking on a dirt path. The trailhead is accessed from the parking lot at the east end of the park.
After walking through a grove of Monterey pines located next to the parking lot, you follow a dirt nature trail that crosses Carbon Canyon Creek a few times and takes you past a 4-acre lake before reaching a 10-acre grove of California coastal redwoods that were planted here in 1975 at the southern end of the park. The trail loops around the redwood grove, crossing the creek again before paralleling Carbon Canyon Damn. Continue to follow the trail through the park maintenance yard — this will take you past the park’s main entrance, then past the lake, playground and picnic tables before reaching the eastern corner of the parking lot and the trailhead.
We recommend that you allow for ample time to sit and enjoy the cool shady redwoods — it’s a great picnic spot. There are nice flat grassy areas that provide a perfect spot to spread out a blanket and nap or read a book, a well as a few well-maintained wooden benches.
Public restrooms are located in the picnic/playground area of the main park, as well as the trail section between the dam and the maintenance yard.