“A nice rolling loop around the southern end of Caspers Wilderness Park.
— John McKinney
Birding · River/Creek · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This easy 2.9-mile loop around southern Caspers Wilderness Park uses multiple trails to give runners a taste of what the park has to offer.
Trails may be closed for three days after rain.
Need to Know
The Park is open from 7 am to sunset all year.
Parking fees are $3 per vehicle daily Monday-Friday, and $5 per vehicle daily on Saturday and Sunday. Higher rates may apply on holidays or for events.
Many of the trails are multi-use so know the right-of-way rules and be aware of other users.
From the parking area, head north on the Nature Loop Trail
; runners will enjoy seeing oak trees and numerous birds and critters collecting acorns, but watch out for poison oak. At the second trail junction, take a left onto Oak Trail
to continue north.
This trail follows Bell Creek and is nicely shaded by oak and sycamore trees. Sage, lemonade berry, and prickly pear cactus also line the trail. When Oak Trail
ends at the junction with Star Rise Trail
, turn right to continue north to the intersection with Bell Canyon Trail
. Turn right onto the wide doubletrack of Bell Canyon Trail
, which hairpins back south and follows the canyon floor. The trail leads back to the top of the parking area via oak and sycamore groves.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store
Flora & Fauna
Oaks, sycamores, poison oak, wildflowers, numerous birds including red-tailed hawks and woodpeckers.
History & Background
Caspers Wilderness Park is the largest park in the OC Parks system at 8000 acres. The land was originally occupied by the Juaneños tribe, who were pushed out when Spain took control of the area in 1769. In the early 20th century, parcels of the land traded hands multiple times. In 1973, following the death of the last owner, Eugene Starr, the land was deeded to the National Audubon Society. The southern half of this was purchased by Orange County in 1974 and was set up as a park under the supervision of Chairman Ronald W. Caspers (the parks namesake). In 1984, the park expanded by purchasing parcels of land from the Rancho Santa Marguerita Company.