Hiking Red Rock Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Trail marker to Red Rock Canyon Trail

Hiking Red Rock Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

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This guide will take you to Red Rock Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, which is located in Orange County, California.

Please note: The end of Red Rock Canyon trail is now blocked off in order to prevent people from climbing on the sandstone. This is the park’s way to preserve the area and keep it beautiful for many years. I have decided to keep my photos of that area in the post so you can get the full idea of what this area of the park looks like, but we should respect the park’s decision to close this area and not cross through this section.

Know before you go:

  • This is a hiking-only trail.
  • No dogs are allowed in the park.
  • Although this is a short hike, always bring plenty of water!
  • Wear appropriate hiking shoes since there is a rocky section near the end.
  • Be aware of the trail, snakes have been known to pass across.

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When to go: All year round!

  • Spring has very comfortable temps and is one of the best times of year to hike.
  • Summers are hot! Be sure to bring plenty of water and go early if you can.
  • Autumn is Santa Ana winds/fire season, so take care if there is fire weather in the area.
  • Winter rains could close trails, so check the park’s website for closures if it has recently rained.

Where to park: Borrego Staging Area/Parking Lot

Parking Fee: $3

Type of Hike: Out and Back

Difficulty Level: Easy

Time: about 2 hours

Length: about 4 miles

Elevation Gain: 489 est. feet

Trails to hike:

  1. Borrego Canyon Trail- 1.3 miles Easy
  2. Mustard Road- .1 miles Easy
  3. Red Rock Canyon Trail- .5 miles Easy

View the Park Map here.

Visit the Park’s Website for more information.

Borrego Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park is a fun area for hikers, bikers, and equestrians to enjoy in the middle of the local area of Lake Forest/Foothill Ranch, California. This is one of my favorite parks because of its excellent views of Orange County, as well as its diverse trails.

Red Rock Canyon Trail is a gorgeous hiking section towards the back of the park that has unique views. Views that you would not even imagine being in this area. Once you arrive in the canyon you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Rocks along Red Rock Canyon Trail

I consider this route easy since it does not have many hills or technical sections until you reach the very end. I have seen several children complete this hike, so feel free to take them along if you think they can handle a 4-mile walk.

At the end of the hike, there is a rock area that used to have open access, but the park has closed the section off to prevent people from climbing in order to preserve the area.

Borrego Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Start out on Borrego Canyon Trail

Borrego is the longest stretch on this hike that very gradually climbs up into the park. You will come across a few up and down sections, but it is mostly flat and easy. Also, most of the trail is shaded.

At the end of Borrego Canyon Trail, there will be a resting area with a bench and park map. Go ahead and take a break, you are almost there!

Trail marker to Red Rock Canyon Trail

Mustard Road

The bench is at the intersection of Borrego Canyon Trail and Mustard Road. Take a right onto Mustard Road and continue for a very short distance until you see a couple of benches on the left side. Follow the left, leaving Mustard Road, and on the right, you will find the trail marker for Red Rock Canyon Trail.

Beginning of Red Rock Canyon Trail

Red Rock Canyon Trail

You will definitely start feeling the sun on this trail as this section of the park becomes a little more desert-like. You will notice fewer trees and more cacti, and the trail becomes rockier.

Once you start seeing the large rock sections ahead you will know you are almost there. Continue following the trail marker to the right towards the rocks.

Cactus along Red Rock Canyon Trail
Trail marker to Red Rock Canyon Trail
Hiking Red Rock Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park
Rock formations along Red Rock Canyon Trail

Once you reach the sandstone area, you will find an area that is blocked off. This is the end of Red Rock Canyon Trail!

Gorgeous views on Red Rock Canyon Trail

The next photos are of the section of the trail that is now inaccessible, but I want to keep these here so you can see how gorgeous it is! You can still enjoy the scenery from behind the barrier.

Climbing through the canyon
View point from the end of Red Rock Canyon Trail
Rock formations inside the canyon
Sitting on the rocks in the canyon of Red Rock Canyon Trail

Once you have had enough time to take in the scenery you can make your way back the same way you came in. Follow Red Rock Canyon Trail to Mustard Road, then make a right onto Mustard. At the bench make a left onto Borrego Canyon Trail and continue until you reach the parking lot.

End of the trail at Red Rock Canyon in Whiting Ranch

I hope you enjoy this hike to Red Rock Canyon in Whiting Ranch as much as I do!

Please comment if you have any questions!


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14 thoughts on “Hiking Red Rock Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park”

    • That’s right, not too from from Los Angeles! If you are ever in the OC area I recommend it! It’s hard to believe we have scenery like that so close to the city!

    • Awww that’s so sweet! There are a few hiking areas in Orange County that are dog friendly, but unfortunately not in the Wilderness Parks. You are lucky to have a doggie that can go hiking, mine can’t keep up!

  • Thanks so much for including information on easy trails! I can do those while my husband does the more challenging ones. This is on our wish list for sure.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Sarah! The canyon is pretty large, something I never imagined would be in this area! How exciting for you, enjoy your trip here!

  • I have been in California but I have not had the chance to visit this park which seems to me to be an excellent combination of excursions and healthy sports. I’ll have to leave sooner or later and this will be among the goals that I will not lose.

    • I definitely recommend this park if you are in the Orange County area and looking for a quick and easy hike with AMAZING views! Thanks so much for your comment Federica!

  • It makes me so sad we don’t have scenery or weather like this in the UK! I’d love to spend a day doing this!

    • Aww I can totally relate. I am from Wisconsin and we just didn’t have these types of parks (or the great weather) like California. Since I’ve moved here I have realized how blessed Californians are to have all of this!

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