Explore the most popular wildlife 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!

Scenic views at the top of the trail.. 3.8 miles, 3.5 hrs round. perfect for kids

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

$3 parking fee

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.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Good trail. Went up Vista Trail and back down the other side. Going up was steep and tough. I wouldnt take kids on this one unless theyre experienced hikers.

hiking
Monday, August 07, 2017

nice trail, middle was the hard part, great view at the top, lots of bikes, and saw a few peoplw with horses, camping also available.

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
Sunday, June 11, 2017

Parking is residential area
No bathrooms
Trails are clearly marked
Steep hills
No strollers no babies no kids under the age of seven
at least two bottles of water and a cool day have not wore some people may benefit from a Walking stick

on Live Oak Trail

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The trails were overgrown with plants and there was a few horse manure along the way. However it is a very nice trail with so many other trails along the way. Views were amazing. Some trails have shade, others don't. I would recommend having a gps as it's easy to get lost.
On my way back, i saw that they were trimming the plants back from the trails so I'm sure it will be better when they're done.
Oh and there was a $3 day use fee. Worth it!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Amazing 360d vista view, worth the sometimes-steep trail. Easy to get lost, so keep checking trailmap

hiking
Saturday, February 18, 2017

Great hiking trail, will definitely go back.

hiking
Sunday, February 05, 2017

Great trail to get a good workout. connects to other trails such as hoffman.
one of my favorite local spots

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
Thursday, June 30, 2016

Very steep at times but overall a moderate hike. Vista point with landmarkers at the top.

hiking
Tuesday, June 07, 2016

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

hiking
Sunday, March 13, 2016

Most Trail - NO DOGS ALLOWED :(
It's an easy brisk walking trail. Nice view at the top.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Amazing views! Unfortunately you have to pay $3-$5 to enter and park. Lots of mountain bikers speed past this trail with little regard to hikers do be careful.

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!

hiking
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Very nice short and easy hike. Be aware of the $5 entrance fee to ONeill Regional Park and there is no shade. The hike starts right next to the entrance to the park. You can see the ocean on a clear day and offers nice canyon views.

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.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Nice and quiet back there, but very dry and brown this time of year (oct 14). Keep left and go visit the Hindu temple, there is a gift shop with interesting things!

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
Thursday, October 31, 2013

This trail is conveniently accessed behind my neighborhood, directly off the end of Altisima. You start by going directly up a hill. Once to the top, you have three trails to choose from. All three are moderate hikes with beautiful views.
The first trail to your right is straight up, then all downhill from there. You end at the very back of o'neil park. The second trail to your right is all down hill.
The trail to the left is up and down. It has a peak to the right with a picnic table. What a view!! Staying on the path you will enjoy nature including a small pond.
Watch out for bikers flying down the hills

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
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A great little hike tucked in the south east corner of Orange County California. The hike isn't very long but the last 1/2 mile or so it pretty steep. This area of California gets very hot in late spring, summer and early fall so if you choose to do this trail, it's best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Bring lots of water and 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.

hiking
12 days ago

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