Past Meetup

SATURDAY Friends-and-Sunset Hike (Level 1+ Moderate Pace)

This Meetup is past

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We will be party-hiking the O'Neil Regional Park area called Vedanta Wilderness, then relaxing while the sun goes down with lovely snacks and your favorite beverages (adult or otherwise). Did we mention relax?

TIME: This hike is scheduled around sunset; this week we hike at 6 PM.

Sunset is at 7:31 PM, so we'll have plenty of time to get to Vista Point and start the relaxin' while we prepare for a beautiful sunset to the west. We won't linger long after the sun goes down, as the park closes at sunset, and we wish to avoid the evening chill anyway.

OCParks Trail Map: O'Neill Regional Park ( [PDF]

O'Neill Regional Park's 4,000 acres are situated in beautiful Trabuco and Live Oak Canyons. The park is heavily wooded with coast live oak and sycamore trees. The hillsides surrounding the park are filled with cactus, wild buckwheat, sagebrush and chaparral of scrub oak, buckthorn and mountain mahogany. Trabuco and Hickey Creeks also meander through the park, flowing in winter and early spring, dry in summer and fall.

Our destination is Vista Point, a scenic overlook area viewing Santiago and Modjeska peaks, as well as Upper Oso reservoir. We have really great views from here.

At this point it is party time. Bring enough of your favorite refreshments, cheese and crackers, plastic glasses, et cetera to share with others on the hike. This area has a picnic table, several benches, but no bathroom. We'll spend an hour or so relaxing, then head down.

Gear: Bring a flashlight; trekking poles aren't really necessary but might help for a few brief steep sections.

A special HikingOC tip o' the hat and a lift of the glass to Tony TT for founding this hike and leading it so admirably in the past.


Distance: Round trip exactly 3 miles

Elevation Gain: about 500' one way, but with a few short sections that are a little on the steep side.

Speed : Moderate, a bit less than 3 mi/hr

Duration: Around 2.5 hours

Starting Time: Our starting time will be dictated by the setting sun. Please check our starting time before you sign up.

Click for Rating Table (


Our trail is just off of El Toro Road in Trabuco Canyon. We're right off the 241 toll road, but are NOT near any of the major freeways; this is not an easy place to find the first time and it always takes longer than you think.

FROM THE 5 FREEWAY (north or south): Exit the 5 at El Toro, then go northeast on El Toro Rd; it's around 5.5 miles until you pass under the 241 toll road, then pass the traffic light at Glenn Ranch, then right at the next light at Valley Vista. Figure at least 20 minutes driving time from the 5 freeway on El Toro.

FROM NORTH COUNTY on toll roads: take the 241 south, exit at the SECOND Portola exit (just past the Lake Forest exit), turn right on Portola, then left on El Toro, then follow the instructions above.

FROM COOK'S CORNER: This biker bar is a fun landmark in south county, and we're not far at all. If you're passing Cook's from the north, pass the traffic light at Ridgeline, then left at the light on Valley Vista. If you pass Cook's from the south, TURN AROUND.

Even though we'll be on Live Oak Trail, at no point should you get on Live Oak Canyon Rd. Also note that El Toro Road turns into Santiago Canyon Road at Cook's.

Once on Valley Vista, the road sharp-turns to the right about 0.1 miles in, then follow it to the end of Meadow Ridge. Immediately after the sharp right turn there are often a lot of cars parked; that's not us - keep going to the end.

For your GPS Navigator: 2 Chisholm Trail, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679.

Park on Meadow Ridge Drive and walk to the Live Oak trail head. Parking is in a residential area, so please don't loiter in the street or engage in loud conversation. Carpooling is recommended.

NOTE: when leaving this neighborhood after the hike, there is no right turn on red at the traffic light on Valley Vista and El Toro.


1) Select hikes that are at your ability level-there is no sweep. This hike does have a few short sections of steep ascent, so it may not be appropriate for those who have not hiked the hills before.

2) Bring at least one bottle of water (16oz).

3) Rain three days or less prior to hike cancels hike.

4) Wait at each trail crossing or turn-off for the rest of the group and the organizer.

5) Wear appropriate hiking clothes and shoes. The evening chill may warrant bringing a jacket, especially on the way down after the sun has set.

6) Do not leave a fellow hiker behind without inquiring as to their condition.

7) You are responsible for your own safety.

8) At this time of the evening Tarantulas like to come out of their holes. Be kind-take pictures but don't harass them.

9) Sorry, dogs are not allowed on this hike. Neither are grumpy attitudes :-)

10) This is a hike primarily for adults, but in the past we've had well-behaved children attend without incident. We strongly recommend that parents do this hike solo one time to insure that the environment is suitable for their own kids.


By joining the meetup, you agree to Meetup Terms of Service which releases the Organizer and Assistant Organizers from any liability related to incidents that occur at Meetup gatherings.



Hiking is a rewarding and pleasant activity in nature, but there are certain dangers you should be aware of. Those include, but are not limited to, trip and fall injuries, bee stings, poison oak exposure, ticks and snake bites. By signing up for this event, you agree to hold harmless the hike organizer, assistant organizers and other participants for any injuries sustained during this hike.