Carbon Canyon Regional Park Loop

#1 of 4 trails in Carbon Canyon Regional Park

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Carbon Canyon Regional Park Loop is a 3.4 mile loop trail located near Brea, California that features a river. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

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Brad Ferm (142)

3 Completed3 Reviews

Went early on a Saturday morning. Not crowded. Paid $5 to park. The developed park itself is really nice. Great for a kids bday party. There are at least a half dozen playgrounds, beach volley ball courts, a fishing pond, horseshoe pits and a bunch of tennis courts. Great place to bird watch. And if you want an effort free hike you can continue out the back of the park to the redwood trail that takes you to a small grove of redwoods nestled in between some houses and the dam. Took the dogs and they loved it. If you come in from the neighborhood on the backside I'm sure you can park for free. Took about an hour and a half to casually walk the whole thing.

Morgen Chiaravallotti (81)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I went this morning with my dog and she was so exhausted after, granted it was a pretty hot day. we both enjoyed it immensely! she was runnin without a leash on most of the trail not alot of people passing so you dont have to really worry about other dogs. all around great park and trails! Great for relaxing walks or beginning hiking.

Toña L. (86)

First time here ... Walked half a mile before I could actually find the entrance of the trail. I passed maybe 5 people throughout the hike. Not a comfortable feeling if you're alone. Snakes in the bushes. Not worth paying $5 for parking for a 3 mile hike. Wouldn't come back here again.

Natalie Curry (89)

2 Completed1 Reviews

Arrived about 715am. It gets warrrmm early here in July so this is a must. Although this trail was much easier than I anticipated, it was a wonderful atmosphere! Plenty of foliage along with intermittent shade on the trail. And the Redwoods!! Lovely little grove, you can imagine you are somewhere else completely :) I don't believe these potential giants will ever grow to capacity here, they were placed very close together whenever they were planted...but I'm no arborist! It is a wonderful place to cool off during your walk! I encountered a few other hikers, mountain bikers, folks out with their dogs, all very friendly. This is a great beginner's hike and the trail is very well maintained.

Ty McMullen (472)

16 Completed16 Reviews

Great to take the family!

Robert Bell (699)

28 Completed20 Reviews

Nice and well maintained area. Probably best suited for families with children or joggers. There are a lot of nearby trails however, including the ones starting near the Chino Hills discovery center. Great picnic area as well.

Dominic Chaulk (207)

5 Completed5 Reviews

Good beginner trail.

Tiffany Gill (412)

11 Completed1 Reviews

Lovely little trail to hike, and great for trail running! Parking is plentiful in the morning hours. $5.00 parking fee on the weekends. Park staff is out an about and very friendly! Signs to guide you along the loop are clear and helpful for first-time visitors. The Redwood Grove is really something to behold; it seems to appear out of nowhere then BAM! There they are! Walking through the grove is magical, the smell and the silence is refreshing.

Jeff & Colleen Greene (1253)

31 Completed36 Reviews

Another visit to one of our favorite neighborhood hikes, an easy 3.4 mile loop through Carbon Canyon Regional Park — beautiful in the spring. (Date hiked: March 19, 2011.) Read the full write-up at:

Prelate Shawn Bell (167)

7 Completed3 Reviews

Redwood trees in Southern California?  I had heard that there was a grove of Sequoia sempervirens somewhere in Orange County, but had never been able to figure out where.

As it turns out, the trees are located near Brea, California off State Route 142 near Carbon Canyon Dam inside Carbon Canyon Regional Park.  The park itself offers visitors activities including fishing, hiking, volleyball, picnic areas, tennis, ball fields, and playgrounds in a idyllic setting, and virtually every review is positive.  From my hike through the park, to get to the trailhead, I could see it was well-maintained, had plenty of grass areas and shade trees, and is certainly worth a visit.  It's a very family-friendly park. Parking costs weekdays is $3, and I believe I read that it's $5 on weekends, or you can save the entry fee and park on residential streets nearby.

What I was there for was a leisurely day hike to see some big trees, so I headed over to the trailhead.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park Nature Trail offers a 3.4 mile or shorter 2.2 mile multi-use loop trail to park visitors. The trail is easy, good for all skill levels, and is primarily used for hiking. Hikers, mountain bikers and horses all use the trail. Dogs are welcome as well, but must be kept on a leash.

I was there early on a Wednesday morning in August.  Not a whole lot of traffic, and not a whole lot of cloud cover, either.  The day was supposed to be around 80 degrees, and even this early it felt like it was going to no problem pushing the mercury up that high.

I parked near the volleyball courts so I could walk through the whole park first.  I walked around the lake and over to the northeast corner of the park near the native garden and amphitheater and began the hike.

The regional park is made up of 124 acres, of which about sixty are developed.  The trail follows the boundaries of the park, crossing over a stream bed, and heads off through the undeveloped area.  Meandering in a southwesterly direction, hikers should follow the occasional bright green signs emblazoned with the word "Redwoods" and which sport an arrow pointing in the direction you should go if you want to find the trees.

The trail is wide and mostly level and unpaved to the redwood grove, with a total elevation change of about 90'.  As a shared use trail that includes horses, it's recommended that you watch where you're walking.  I'm just sayin'...

In August, there is a lot of dry brush.  Not much moves around except for unseen squirrels, an occasional butterfly, and a few birds.  The air is clean and fresh.  Since there isn't any real cover along the trail, make sure you bring a hat, sunscreen, water, and comfortable shoes.

When the Carbon Canyon Dam comes into view, the trail turns eastward.  Within a few minutes you arrive at the redwood grove.

According to the park's Nature Center, in 1975 coastal redwood seedlings were part of a giveaway by a local bank.  The story goes that after the giveaway was over, the bank still had 600 tiny trees left.  The bank donated them to Fullerton College where they lived for awhile in the agricultural center before the the college donated them to the county.  The trees were planted, and the redwood grove began to flourish.  Since they were planted, many of the trees have grown to over 100 feet.  While that's certainly impressive, these trees can live more than 1,200 years and grow to almost 400 feet!  Because of how tightly planted together these trees are, though, it's unlikely that they'll grow that high, or reach their full potential of a 26' diameter trunk.

The sequoia is native to California, growing along much of the central and northern California coast.  The tree isn't a Southern California local, however; there isn't sufficient rainfall for these thirsty giants.  When you first reach the redwood grove, you'll immediately notice a change in the air; it's moist.  Under the canopy of these toddlers, the ground isn't dry.  In fact, you might want to watch out for mud as you wander among the giants.  Once you step inside the grove, the air is 10 degrees cooler.  The redwood grove is a completely different ecosystem than what surrounds it.

Take the time to smell the air.  Lay on your back (in a relatively dry spot!) and look up at 38 years worth of history.  This view is what makes the hike worth every step.

There is one bench and a drinking fountain in the grove.  During my entire visit, I was the only human.

You have a couple of options for the return hike.  If you want to get the full loop experience, you can cross over to the south side of the grove, where there's a concrete sidewalk, and you can continue over to the Carbon Canyon Dam, and the back around the northeast edge of the park, or you can head back the way you came, and after about a mile there's a trail that branches off across the dry stream bed and back into the manicured area of the park near the volleyball courts.