Bell Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"This ride begins in Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park, east of San Juan Capistrano and approximately 60 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The riding on Bell Canyon Trail is easy, with some short hills. Sun Rise and East Ridge Trails require additional effort, for they are steep in places. The route follows dirt fire roads in fair condition. This large wilderness park, located in the western Santa Ana Mountains, has more than 25 miles of dirt roads suitable for mountain biking. Beginners can follow the scenic Bell Canyon Trail as it rambles past woodlands, grasslands, and streams."
--David Story, Laurie & Chris Leman, Mountain Bike! Southern California (Menasha Ridge Press).
"Crisscrossing Caspers Wilderness Park are thirty miles of trail that explore grassy valleys, chaparral-cloaked ridges and native groves of coastal live oak and sycamore. Visitors have a good chance of sighting wildlife: Deer, rabbits and coyote, as well as more furtive animals such as foxes and bobcats. Bird-watchers will want to consult the park’s bird list and test their skill by identifying the many species found in the park. Centerpiece of the park is oak-lined Bell Canyon. Acorns from the oaks were an important food source for the Juaneno Indians who lived in the canyon. As the legend goes, the Indians would strike a large granite boulder with a small rock to make it ring. The sound could be heard for a mile through what is now known as Bell Canyon. “Bell Rock” is now housed in Bowers Museum in Santa Ana."
--John McKinney, Orange County: A Day Hiker's Guide (The Trailmaster).
"This is an easy and scenic hike that meanders up fertile Bell Canyon, a quiet, natural canyon in the heart of the park. The hike forms a loop with the Oak Trail, a footpath on the west side of the canyon. The loop weaves through impressive sycamores and ancient oak woodlands.From the I-5 (San Diego) Freeway in San Juan Capistrano, take the Ortega (74) Highway exit. Drive 7.7 miles east to the posted park entrance and turn left. From the park entrance station, continue 1 .4 miles to the end of the park road by the Bell Canyon Trailhead. Park on the left. An entrance fee is required."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes Around Orange County (Day Hike Books).
"The crown jewel of Orange County’s regional park system, Caspers Wilderness Park is the county’s largest park (8,000 acres), the least altered by human activities, and the most remote from population centers. (“Remote,” of course, is a relative term in Orange County, more than twothirds of which is urbanized). Beware of poison oak, which grows along this trail."
--Jerry Schad and David Money Harris, 101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert (Wilderness Press).
"The West Ridge Trail parallels the west edge of Caspers Wilderness Park 400 feet above Bell Canyon. The hike begins on the canyon floor under towering sycamores and ancient stands of contorted, picturesque oaks. The trail climbs the sandstone cliffs on the west wall of Bell Canyon to the open ridge. From West Ridge are vistas into Canada Gobernadora (the undeveloped canyon to the west), Bell Canyon (filled with oaks and sycamores), and Santiago and Modjeska Peaks."
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