Canyon Community Park (Costa Mesa)

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Sandstone bluffs in Canyon Community Park
Trail through the canyon

Text and photography copyright 2011 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.

Canyon Community Park

  • Location: 970 Arbor St, Costa Mesa.  From the end of the 55 freeway, head west (right) on 19th St.  Go 1.1 miles, take a right on Monrovia and then a quick left on Arbor.  In 0.2 miles, the park will be on your right.  Drive to the lower parking area.  From Pacific Coast Highway, go north on Newport Blvd. for 1.3 miles.  Turn left on 17th St, and in 0.6 miles, go right on Placentia.  In 0.5 miles, turn left on 19th St. and in 0.3 miles, go right on Monrovia.
  • Agency:  City of Costa Mesa
  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 100 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season: Year round
  • USGS topo map: Seal Beach
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 2

Located on a 35-acre parcel tucked into a residential neighborhood in Costa Mesa, Canyon Community Park is a pleasant surprise for hikers.  The scenery here includes a small marsh, a quiet woodland and some sandstone geology.  There are a few trails that run through the park, and the loop described here strings several of them together, taking in the park’s variety.

From the parking area, walk on a paved path and head north, past a playing field.  The path leads out of the park’s main area, past an apartment complex and to a footbridge which crosses a small canyon that feeds into a marsh, which is well worth a look.

Head back toward the main area of the park on the paved walkway, and bear left on a dirt path that heads towards some sandstone cliffs, providing some nice up-close views.  The trail merges with another path that heads into the wooded canyon.  Just before you reach the end, take a hairpin turn to the right and head back.  You can add some adventure to your trip by following the canyon (which is usually dry) itself, or you can stay on the path that parallels it.

When you get back to the parking area, you can extend your hike a little by following a trail that follows the paved road.  Turn around at the playground, and take the service road back to the parking area.

If you enjoyed Canyon Community Park, make sure to check out the larger Talbert Nature Reserve nearby.

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