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.
Wilderness Glen (Mission Viejo Open Space)
- Location: Corner of Noveno and Destello, Mission Viejo. From I-5, head northeast on El Toro Road for 2.3 miles and turn right on Trabuco. Go 1.1 miles and turn left on Los Alisos. Go 0.6 miles and turn left on Via Noveno, and park on the corner of Via Noveno and Destello.
- Agency: City of Mission Viejo
- Distance: 1.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 150 feet
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: El Toro
- More information: here
- Rating: 2
This is an enjoyable neighborhood trail that follows alongside a creek. It’s a good walk to know about, especially for those who want a quick escape into nature and don’t have the time to drive all the way up into the mountains.
The entire trail runs about two miles, so the route described here can easily be extended. With the exception of a small paved stretch, this section of the trial is entirely on dirt (much of the route is on a bike path).
From the corner of Destello and Noveno, head downhill on a dirt fire road and enter the quiet, wooded canyon. Although you can see houses on the left and hear traffic from Los Alisos Blvd. on the right, the canyon still manages to have a nice, secluded feel. At about half a mile in, the trail surface becomes paved, and shortly after, you cross Vista Del Lago. Pick up the trail on the other side of the street (or if you like, you can take a detour to the right and get a closer look at the creek).
The trail continues, soon making a short and steep climb, during which nice views of the Santa Ana Mountains open up. After reaching a high point, it starts to descend, finally reaching Del Lago School, the turnaround. If you enjoyed the hike, you can continue south past Via Noveno on the bike path for another mile.