Explore the most popular forest trails near Rancho Santa Margarita with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

on Upper O'Neill Trail

1 month ago

Lots of parking, but gates don't open till 7 so don't go too early... Not hard at all-we went further and was very enjoyable!

Beautiful views of the mountains. Nice, wide, clearly marked trail. Mostly open, some shady areas. Only a few piles of dog doo. Very steep at many points—poles recommended if you have bad knees! Took me about 1.5 hours. My only complaints were the views of the subdivisions and the concrete funnels on parts of the hike.

Beautiful spring wildflowers, blooming cacti and yucca flowers. Some steep hills but worth it!

hiking
6 months ago

Pretty trail. You can hear a bit of traffic from toll road. Peaceful yet. Dirt and concrete trail through campground. Overlooks dry creek bed. Mostly shaded which was nice. Easy Trail. Pups loved it

hiking
10 months ago

Going up the hills is rewarded with great views and serenity.

Was last on this trail in May and encountered a mountain lion. I hike alone. Was very scary, though I was fortunate in the fact that it could have cared less about me. It looked at me for about 2 seconds (which felt like forever) before sauntering off in the opposite direction of me. Needless to say this is a beautiful trail with many trees and a creek you cross, but this encounter left me scared. Hadn't hiked for a few months because of it. Am now back in full swing. A bit lonely of a trail if you have an emergency (snake bite/mauled by mountain lion /encounter a guy who will harm you) it is very secluded in many areas. Would not go alone next time.

trail running
Saturday, July 29, 2017

This used to be a great single track to get in a quick run, 8 miles out and back from Antonio to Oso. Thanks to Rancho Mission Viejo's "conservation" efforts the ridge trail is closed, wildlife populations are isolated by grid and barbed wire fencing, and the once untouched acres are stripped and ready for residential construction.

hiking
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Great hiking trail, will definitely go back.

hiking
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Perfect for a quick easy hike. Went on a Monday morning and was very peaceful, not too much traffic. Only ran into some bikers. Easy to moderate trail.

hiking
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Not much trail left along the east ridge (see photo).

hiking
Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Parts of the trail are closed. It is mostly used by bikers.

camping
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

We love to camp and hike here. This is a great park. It's dog and horse friendly, which I used to take advantage of when I had a dog. The park frequently hosts events that are educational and for all ages. The most recent event we attended was Acorn Day. My daughters (2 and 3 years old) loved it. Lots of crafts, music, food trucks, booths with animals. Very fun.

The only reason O'Neill doesn't get 5 stars is that it's located right next to the 241 toll road. It is such a buzzkill to be hiking down a trail and hearing cars rush by or find a smashed TV under the bridge. Other than that, it's great!

mountain biking
Monday, November 17, 2014

My friend and I went mountain biking on the trail here. It was a lot of fun. Several streams and small changes in elevation kept things interesting but, not really technical. A portion of the trail is 100% exposed for about an hour or so bring a hat or sunscreen.

hiking
Tuesday, January 07, 2014

It's a nice hike if you just feel like something quick and easy, it has great views and some beautiful plants to look at, especially during the spring when the wild flowers blossom. You will usually see wild rosemary, sage and cacti to name just a few. There are other hikes nearby if you feel like continuing on.

hiking
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A short hike that is best done in the spring after the first spring rains when all the wildflowers are blooming. The trail is close to the 241 toll road so the road noise from passing vehicles is constant. Watch for rattlesnakes.

hiking
Sunday, July 01, 2012

Completed a portion if the arroyo trabuco trail, passing under the 241. Foliage dry, stream dry, will probably be much better in sptingtime.

mountain biking
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