The path was clear and easy to follow. Had both paved and dirt paths. The views were great and if you start at Shady Canyon you can walk all the way to quail hill, do that and add miles onto your hike before you turn around to go back.
Scenery was beautiful around dusk/sunset!
If this is an easy hike it has to be the bottom part of the canyon. The hike up West Fork would be categorized as hard. The first .5 mile is on Bommer Meadow which is gravel double trail with a gentle incline. The next .6 mile is on Nature Loop which is the same double wide gravel trail with a similar gentle incline. The return .4 mile would be along the side of Bommer Canyon Road on hard packed dirt. Then walk out on Bommer Meadow completing a 2 mile hike. The asphalt road and Bommer Canyon Community Park are gated and fenced and only open for special events. Hikers are not permitted to use the roadway.
I truly enjoyed hiking the trail this morning. It's a well kept trail with plenty of natural Southern California nature to enjoy. It does have some moderate hills, but like it is said "what goes up, must come down" which can lead to relief. Contrary to the trails name, "Shady Canyon trail" there is absolutely no shade, so I recommend one brings a hat and lots of water; especially, if one brings their 4 legged child. Looking forward to running this trail next weekend. Happy trailing
I enjoyed this spot so much last week (hiking only the lower, relatively flat portion), that I came back to do it again, but this time going beyond the ranch (at 2 miles) and continuing on up West Fork trail to the ridge.
My only additional comment is that once you begin up that West Fork trail to the ridge, the vertical gain is considerable (probably average 20% for about a mile), and you're no longer looking at a comfortable, easy hike. If someone is not accustomed to at least moderately strenuous hiking, you'll want to take a slow pace up that last mile. The real draw of completing that last mile and making it to the top of the ridge is to be able to say you made it to the top, and to enjoy the views. Right at the top you'll look back back east across the valley to Saddleback Mountain. Once at the top, continue on the trail for about .25 miles more (you'll be heading west towards the ocean with the park on your right), and you'll see a lovely view of the ocean and Catalina island. If you have someone willing to come pick you up, you can get dropped off at one end of the trail (either at the top or the bottom) and get picked up at the other end, for a 3 mile hike.
Thanks to this guide, I had the pleasure of discovering this lovely hike today. You'll experience a gentle elevation for the first 1.5 miles. After that, you'll hit spots with stretches of significant vertical gain (I estimate maybe 20% grade for moderate distances). Those who have only been walking on flat terrain will do a little heavy breathing in these spots, and may choose to stop and catch your breath, but overall a very comfortable, manageable and enjoyable hike. The trail surface is not rocky, but has spots where the hard packed dirt is uneven. I wore my hiking boots, but the trail surface is amenable to any athletic shoe.
I'd already completed 5 miles on another trail earlier in the day, so I stopped at the 2 mile mark and headed back down, but I'll definitely be back to do this again. If you're looking for an easy and enjoyable hike for the family, or for a date, this is an excellent choice. The signs say that the lock the parking lot at 6 p.m., so if you expect to return later than that, park your car a few hundred yards further down Shady Canyon at the park with the tennis courts at the first intersection. In that parking lot there are also signs marking the entrance to the trail.
Short hike through the grounds of a gated residential community. The trail is well marked and there is a separate paved path for bikes. Good for walking the dog or jogging. There is very little shade, despite the name of the trail, so plan to wear sun screen if you burn easily.
Donovan S. on Shady Canyon Trail
Easy nice trail