Jeff and I are happy to invite our fellow Orange County hikers and Orange County history buffs along for another History Hike sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society, as we continue to kick-off this exciting new program. Our inaugural History Hike out to San Juan Hot Springs was a great success, and filled up within 2 weeks of our announcement.

About OC History Hikes

To help expose, educate and connect people to Orange County’s fascinating history, the Orange County Historical Society launched a new program in November — Orange County History Hikes. These hikes will take place at least a couple times per year, and are open to the public. Each hike will showcase an Orange County historical destination, allowing history and hiking enthusiasts to see some of these destinations in a new way. Hikes will vary in distance, topography and difficulty, but will stay within a range that most reasonably fit people can accomplish.

History Hike: Exploring the Olinda Oil Museum and Trail

Learn about the cultural history and geological significance of the Olinda Oil Fields in Brea.  Jeff and I just hiked this trail for the first time in February.

Olinda, California, circa 1920. Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.

Olinda, California, circa 1920. Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.

Why bother joining this group hike instead of hiking it alone? Because the History Hikes crew has a team of local historians on hand to provide detailed interpretive narrative that you can’t get from the trail signs or brochure.

  • Date & Time: Sunday, April 15, 2012 (9am-11:30am)*
    • 9:00am: Parking gates open
    • 9:15am: Orientation in front of Field House Museum
    • 9:30am: Docent-led tour of the museum (includes a video) and grounds
    • 10:15/10:30am: Interpretive hike
  • Location: The Olinda Oil Museum and Trail, 4025 Santa Fe Road, Brea, CA
  • Distance: 1.94 miles round-trip (very exposed, mostly single-track dirt trail)
  • Elevation: 390 foot total elevation gain
  • Event Fee: None (limited to 25 people), but the Museum accepts donations.
  • Parking Fee: None (20 vehicles max, so carpooling is necessary).
  • Meeting Spot: Olinda Oil Museum

Please feel welcome to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the picnic area after the hike. There are two covered picnic tables and restrooms available.

Special Instructions: Must be 7 years of age or older. People-friendly dogs are permitted, on a leash. Please bring water, sunscreen, a hat and sturdy closed-toe shoes. If your dog is joining us, please bring water and waste bags.

Reservations Required: Please use our online Reservation Form to RSVP for your spot at this event. You may submit one RSVP for your entire party.

Directions: Take the 57 Freeway to Exit 10 (Lambert Rd) in Brea. Head east on Lambert Road for 1.8 miles, where it turns into Carbon Canyon Rd. At 0.6 miles, turn left onto Santa Fe Rd (into a housing tract). Turn right on the 2nd residential street (after Merrifield Dr.). This dead-ends at the parking lot for the Museum.

Historical Significance

According to Phil Brigandi’s Orange County Place Names A to Z, “The Olinda Tract was laid out in 1887 on several hundred acres north of Yorba Linda and east of Brea.” Brigandi explains that the town of Olinda was established shortly after oil was discovered in 1897 in the Carbon Canyon area of the tract. What is particularly significant about the Museum is that it houses the oldest Orange County oil well in continuous operation.

Want to extend your mileage?

If you want to extend your hiking mileage (weather permitting) after the official History Hike is done, you might want to:

  • Drive down the street to tackle any number of trails at Chino Hills State Park or visit the new Discovery Center (no dogs on trails). Parking is $5 per vehicle or a State Parks Pass.
  • Join Greene Adventures for an additional 3.4 mile (90 foot elevation gain) scenic kid-friendly loop hike through Carbon Canyon Regional Park — right across the street — and a picnic in the redwoods grove (dogs allowed). Parking is $5 cash per car or an OCParks Pass.

* This hike is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. Please check our Facebook Page for last-minute updates that morning.


View Olinda Oil Museum Trail in a larger map

(Photos courtesy of the Orange County Archives.)

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jimnkellie April 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm

This site is awesome! Thanks for offering such a great resource.  I can’t wait to experience one of the recommended outings!

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