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FOODIE HIKE AND TASTINGS to Vista Point in O'Neill Park

  • O'Neill Regional Park - Valley Vista entrance

    2 Chisholm Trail, Trabuco Canyon, CA (map)

    33.668888 -117.620790

  • OUR HIKE: Join Stephanie and Estela for our THEMED FOODIE HIKE OF THE MONTH. We will be hiking to enjoy our food and beverage tastings.... taking our dining experience on the mountain top to the next level. Bring a main course, appetizer or drink to share. And remember what you will need for "presenting" your offering, be it cup, spoon, bowl, or silver service! The hike is timed to watch the sunset on Vista Point, a scenic overlook with magnificent 360 degree views of Saddleback Mountain, Oso Reservoir, city lights and the ocean. We will spend a hour with hiking friends at the picnic and then head down, as the park officially closes at sunset.

    We will be hiking in the Vedanta Wilderness area of O'Neill Regional Park's 4,000 acres, 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.

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

    DETAILS:

    Distance: Round trip exactly 3 miles

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

    Duration: Around 2.5 hours

    Difficulty: This hike is beginner-plus: there is  one short section that's quite steep (early on), followed by a somewhat longer section not quite as steep,  but with flat and downhill sections to recover. This is not appropriate for hikers who have not been hiking recently. Trekking poles may be helpful, but not necessary for this hike.

    OUR PICNIC: It's a Saturday night party with a view! And it's a potluck, so bring your favorite refreshments to share with others on the hike. Our picnic area at Vista Point has two picnic tables and several benches for seating (but no bathroom). Whatever is put on the tables gets shared including food and beverages in what turns into a "tasting." After the trek up the trail, hikers tend to be both happy to be at the top enjoying the sunset and hungry. It is often amazing to see the delectables that emerge from hiker backpacks!

    DRIVING DIRECTIONS:

    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 after the hike.

    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.

    HIKE GUIDANCE:

    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, OCParks does not allow dogs on this trail.

    10) Absolutely no smoking or flames of any kind permitted

    11) 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.

    12) Bring a flashlight for our return hike following the sunset.

    DISCLAIMER: Group organizer and assistant organizers assume no liability; hike at your own risk. By being a member of this group you hereby agree to assume all risks and liability related to or resulting from any and all group functions. You agree that neither you nor any third party will hold any of the group's leaders, officers, or representatives liable for any injury, loss, or damage to your own person or any members of your family, friends, acquaintances, children, pets, or property, arising directly or as a consequence from a group activity. You also agree that your membership of this group is based on an "at will" basis.

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4 going

  • Darlene W
    Event Host

    My name is Darlene. I am here for the hike!!

  • stephanie
    Event Host

    Hello, my name is Stephenie:) love hiking and walking.

  • Estela P

    Mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend

  • Kevin M
    The Transformer,

    Looking to hike for fun, exercise and to meet nice people. So far, mission accomplished!

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