Live Oak Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"The Live Oak Trail is a combination of wide foot trail and fire road in the western section of O’Neill Regional Park. This hike traverses some of the less traveled and most scenic areas of the park. Despite the trail’s proximity to residential development, within minutes from your car you will find yourself in open woodland and grassy meadows. Over the course of 1.5 miles, you climb 600 feet to a spectacular summit and observation point.From the end of Meadow Ridge, turn left (east) down a paved and dirt service road that provides access to a nursery. A trail sign marks the beginning of the hike. For a few hundred yards, the trail proceeds between the rear of residences and the nursery, but it soon breaks out into the open hills. A short, steep section of winding trail heads up and over a small hill. Here the coastal woodland is thick with plants and trees. Live oak and toyon (with its characteristic red berries) dominate."
--Randy Vogel, Best Easy Day Hikes: Orange County (Falcon Guides).
"This hike at the north end of the park follows the Live Oak Trail from the forested canyon, then heads up along the west canyon ridge to Vista Point. The 1,492-foot open summit has expansive views that range from the upper reaches of the Santa Ana Mountains to the ocean and from Old Saddleback to the San Joaquin Hills. A map atop the summit highlights the mountain ridgeline and peaks.Begin at the posted Live Oak-Spaulding trailhead. Pass through the trail gate, and head up the canyon on a narrow asphalt road. At 100 yards is a junction in an oak grove with the Edna Spaulding Nature Trail on the left (Hike 29). Continue straight on the Live Oak Trail for 0.3 miles to a dirt path on the left. The paved path ends a short distance ahead at the back of the canyon. Take the footpath on the left, and climb the canyon’s west wall to the head of the canyon. Veer left, dropping into the adjoining canyon to the oak-shaded floor by an old park road. Cross the road and pick up the Live Oak Trail, passing the Pawfoot Trail on the right. Climb up the north canyon wall, and curve around the hillside to sweeping views of the Santa Ana Mountains."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes Around Orange County (Day Hike Books).
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