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Discover the Best Shaded Hikes in Orange County

Are you looking for a hiking trail near you? One of the best things about Southern California is all the gorgeous and hidden hiking trails with beautiful vistas overlooking the valleys and ocean. The only downfall is that our subtropic climate and natural foliage doesn’t often provide respite from that hot summer sun.

If you’re looking to explore the region’s scenic beauty while staying cool, we’ve curated a list of the best shaded hikes in Orange County. Lace up your hiking boots and get ready to embark on memorable journey through picturesque forests, canyons, and mountain ranges!

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Situated in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park offers a variety of shaded trails suitable for hikers of all levels. The Borrego Trail is a 4.1 mile easy hike that offers a balance of shade and open vistas, allowing you to explore diverse habitats, including oak groves and coastal sage scrub. The end of the trail offers less shade, but it’s made up by the park’s famous and stunning red rock formations.

Hiking trail at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park
Photo credit: AllTrails

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

For a diverse hiking experience with shaded areas, head to Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. This expansive park features a network of trails that wind through lush canyons and oak woodlands. The Wood Canyon Trail is a 6.9 mile moderately-challenging hike that provides refreshing shade and takes you on a journey through picturesque landscapes filled with native plants and wildlife.

Photo credit: AllTrails

Black Star Canyon

Black Star Canyon is a hidden gem located in the Cleveland National Forest. The canyon’s trails provide ample shade and an opportunity to explore a tranquil natural oasis. The Black Star Falls Trail is particularly picturesque 6.9 mile challenging hike, leading you to a beautiful waterfall cascading over rocks, surrounded by lush foliage. The shaded trail provides a cool respite from the sun as you venture deeper into the canyon.

Photo credit: AllTrails

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