Carbon Canyon Regional Park Loop

Brea, CA
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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.

OneCarbon Canyon Regional Park is a 124-acre park, operated by the County of Orange and located next to Chino Hill State Park. This 3.4-mile round-trip hike takes you along what is usually referred to as a nature trail to the redwoods grove, then loops around the park up on top of the dam before returning you to the main park. It is short, well-marked, and flat enough for anyone comfortable walking on a dirt path.

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18 Completed 11 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.

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3 Completed 3 Reviews

Good beginner trail.

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11 Completed 1 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.

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31 Completed 36 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: http://www.greeneadventures.com/2011/04/04/carbon-canyon-regional-park-is-lush-and-green-this-spring/

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7 Completed 3 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.

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2 Completed 2 Reviews

I love coming to Carbon Canyon, the hike up the steep hill is pretty tiresome and dangerous near the top as the trail has partially disintegrated over time. There is awesome shade when you get halfway through the trail at discover all the beautiful Redwoods. I wish they had free parking but paying $5 on weekends and $3 on weekdays is well worth it.

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45 Completed 39 Reviews

Two stars for the redwood grove, otherwise it's just a dirt road!

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8 Completed 5 Reviews

This trail was kind of boring. We may also just be spoiled because we just did Holy Jim's trail. Be careful of all the poison oak. If its your first trail it is a nice leisurely walk otherwise it's just meh.

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40 Completed 20 Reviews

Did this about a month ago. Very woodsy area in some parts. Reminded me of northern California.

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1 Completed 1 Reviews

Did this trail a couple of weeks ago. It was a nice walk, weather was nice. Got a little breeze through some of it. I would do this one again. It was a good first hike for us!

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