- Location: Near Anaheim Hills in northeast Orange County. From the 91 freeway, take the Weir Canyon exit and drive 0.7 miles south to Serrano. Take a right on Serrano and drive 2 miles and take a left on Hidden Canyon. Park at the corner of Overlook. Alternately, take the Imperial Highway (route 90) exit, head south (right if you are coming from the west, left if from the east), drive about a mile to Nohl Ranch Road, take a left and go to about 3 miles to the end of Nohl Ranch Road, take a left on Serrano and a right on Hidden Canyon.
- Agency: Weir Canyon Regional Park/Santiago Oaks Regional Park
- Distance: 3.9 miles
- Elevation gain: 650 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: All year but hot in the summer
- Dogs: Allowed on leash (exercise caution on warm days)
- Cell phone reception: Good for most of the hike; weak to fair in some spots
- Water: None
- Restrooms: None
- Camping/backpacking: None (nearest camping is at Chino Hills State Park)
- Recommended gear: Insect Repellent; Sun Hat
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Orange County
- More information: Trip descriptions here and here; Yelp page here; AllTrails report here
- Rating: 7
This hike’s scenic variety, convenient location and dog friendliness (unlike Chino Hills State Park or the Oak Canyon Nature Center) make it a perennial favorite of north Orange County hikers. Unfortunately, it was hit hard by the 2017 Canyon fires (and also has seen its share of human damage) but in the upcoming years, the hike will provide a chance to observe the recovery of the land. Note that while a few new trails, such as the Deerweed, have been added over the years, there are some unauthorized use trails as well. Avoid these and help the land heal by sticking to the clearly marked established trails.
From the corner of Overlook and Hidden Canyon, start hiking on the fire road (the single-track that heads uphill is also an option, for a shorter version of the loop). At a junction, bear left (the right fork heads into Santiago Oaks Regional Park). Take a hard left at a fence and head uphill. You pass by a sandstone formation known as Eye-Socket Rock (which, sadly has seen increasing vandalism in recent years), and begin to work your way around the western side of Weir Canyon.
At about two miles, head right as the Deerweed Trail heads uphill (you can take it if you want to shorten the loop). You continue toward the northern end of Weir Canyon Park, turning around just before you reach a row of houses. During the winter months, you may notice snow-covered San Gorgonio in the distance.
On the return, you continue heading uphill, rejoining the Deerweed Trail. On the ridge, you will have to contend with the noise of traffic but you will also have (at least on clear days) outstanding views, including the ocean, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountains and Catalina Island. Sharp-eyed hikers may even be able to pick out Cahuenga Peak and the Hollywood Hills (although the sign is not visible.)
At 3.5 miles, you begin a descent, soon arriving at residential Avenida de Santiago. While it was once necessary to complete the hike on the pavement, you can now continue on the trail, which soon reaches a three way fork. The left fork returns you to the eastern side of the loop, while the other two lead toward the trail head. The central fork is more adventurous, dropping steeply and then climbing to rejoin the right fork, which skirts the eastern wall of the canyon. After the trails hook up again, a short descent brings you back to your starting point.