Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
ABCD Loop (Santiago Oaks Regional Park)
- 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: Santiago Oaks Regional Park; Weir Canyon Wilderness Park
- Distance: 3.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 900 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: September – June
- USGS topo map: Orange; Black Star Canyon
- Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
- More information: here; park map here
- Rating: 5
The ABCD Loop is my nickname for this hike in Santiago Oaks Regional Park. It’s an acronym for the trails that make up the trip: Anaheim Hills, Barham Ridge, Cactus Canyon and Coachwhip, and Deer.
This route starts from the same location as the Weir Canyon Loop and offers a similar hiking trip in terms of distance, difficulty and scenery. Head toward Weir Canyon, but instead of left, take a right at the first junction and head downhill. After passing under some oaks, a short but steep climb brings you to a junction. Stay straight (following the signs for Santiago Oaks Regional Park) and soon you come to a junction. The Anaheim Hills trail continues straight (your return route); here you take a left onto the Deer Trail.
The Deer Trail descends into the canyon and then climbs up the other side to meet the Barham Ridge Trail. Head left, along a ridgeline, with nice views to the southwest, and after half a mile, descend on the Cactus Canyon trail. This brings you to a four-way junction with the Bumblebee, Yucca Ridge and Coachwhip Trails. The other Santiago Oaks Regional Park hike I’ve posted (see here for more information) arrives at this exact same point via the Yucca Ridge and Bumblebee Trails.
On this route, however, you take a hard right on the Coachwhip Trail. This trail briefly explores the bottom of the canyon, with some welcome shade, before beginning a steep and exposed ascent. This is the most challenging part of the whole route – especially since the trail is prone to erosion and can be difficult to navigate – but it’s over with shortly and you soon arrive back at Barham Ridge. Take a left, and then head right on the Anaheim Hills trail (the Barham Ridge trail goes straight, toward Robber’s Peak.) Follow the Anaheim Hills trail half a mile to the junction and continue by retracing your steps back to your starting point.