Borrego Canyon Trail

Lake Forest, California 92630

Distance2.5mi
Elevation Gain357ft
Trailhead Elevation811ft
Top1,056ft
Elevation Min/Max799/1056ft
Elevation Start/End811/811ft

Borrego Canyon Trail

Borrego Canyon Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Lake Forest, California. It is 2.5 miles long and begins at 811 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is three miles with a total elevation gain of 357 feet. Whiting Ranch Parking and another parking are near the trailhead. There are also restrooms and drinking water.

Borrego Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The trail follows beside, across, and through Borrego Canyon Creek and reaches the more open and undeveloped hillsides. Eventually you strike out onto the narrow and very scenic Red Rock Canyon Trail, which meanders through oak woodland and coastal sage scrub to 100-foot-high red sandstone cliffs in Red Rock Canyon.

In 2007 the Santiago Fire burned nearly 90 percent of the park. As of this writing, the park is open and in the process of natural recovery. Please respect the process by staying on established trails and following park rules."

"Limestone-Whiting Wilderness Park en compasses 4,000 acres on
the north end of Lake Forest and Foothill Ranch in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. The park, an old cattle ranch, contains riparian and oak woodlands, rolling grasslands, scrub-covered slopes, and dramatic rock formations. Four seasonal streams—Borrego, Serrano, Glass, and Aliso Creek—wind through the parkland canyons. Twenty-six miles of graded roads and foot trails traverse throughout the park for hikers, bikers, and equestrians.

Borrego Canyon and Serrano Canyon are the two largest drainages in the parkland. This hike leads up Borrego Canyon to Vista Lookout, a 1,500-foot knoll on the northwest corner of the park. From the overlook are views of Red Rock Canyon, Limestone Canyon, and the Santa Ana and San Gabriel mountains. Viewing scopes atop the knoll highlight Old Saddleback, Luke Mesa, Caspers Wilderness Park, and Catalina Island. The Santiago Fire burned 90% of the area in 2007, but the landscape has been steadily recovering."

"Red Rock Canyon is a narrow canyon surrounded by dramatic
100-foot red sandstone cliffs in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. The wind and water-carved formations cast a red terra cotta tint from oxidized iron in the rock. Shellfish and marine fossils can be seen in the fluted and chiseled sedimentary cliffs.

To help preserve the fragile serrated outcroppings, Red Rock Canyon is open to hikers only. This hike follows stream-fed Borrego Canyon to its upper reaches in Red Rock Canyon. The trail winds under a dense canopy of twisted live oaks, towering sycamores, and willows to the weathered rock sculptures in Red Rock Canyon."

"Like most trails in the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, the Borrego Trail is open to mountain biking and horseback riding, as well as hiking. Mountain bikers, however, are not allowed to ride all the way to Red Rock.

At the beginning, you immediately plunge into densely shaded Borrego Canyon, alongside a stream that happily trickles through the winter and spring. Often in the late fall and winter, frigid air sinks into these shady recesses overnight, and by early morning, frost mantels everything below eye-level."

Borrego Canyon Trail Reviews

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6/17/2012
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6/10/2012
Great hike to combine with the Red Rock Canyon. The views are as good as advertised. Go in the late afternoon and you could catch a sunset that makes the entire hillside glow. Jog down just after the sun sets to be back in the parking lot before it is really dark. No real need for a headlamp.
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12/26/2011
Amazing vistas once you're on the peak. The trail up to the top (Mustard) is a challenging climb for any novice hiker. So, be prepared! But worth the effort! Overall, one of the best I've done in the Santa Ana Mountains.
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4/24/2010
Originally came here to do the Borrego Canyon to Red Rock Canyon Trails, but couldn't ignore this trail after picking up the trail map. Don't let the mildly overgrown Mustard Road Trail scare you off -- it's a worthy hike with an incredible 360-degree view from above!
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11/19/2009
this was a good workout. a consistant elevation gain on the way in. there are THREE mountain lion warning signs right in the beginning of the trail which made me and my girlfriend a little nervous. i got to see a little snake and a HUGE black lizard...thank god no mountain lions!!
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8/9/2009
The trail guide is incorrect in saying that the trailhead will not inspire you. I think it is very inspiring to have such a lovely park so close to the "burbs" while truly maintaining it's wilderness feel. The trailhead begins across the street from a major shopping area. The trailhead is marked with a wonderful piece of sculpture depicting all sorts of flora and fauna that may be found in the area. The trail guide, from that point on is very accurate. Be sure to respect the signs asking you to stay off the red sandstone cliff faces. They are fragile and truly unique.
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Trail Information

Lake Forest
Nearby City
Kid-friendly
Accessibility
U.S.G.S. El Toro Limestone-Whiting Wilderness Park map
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018