Windes and Pacifica Loop Trails (Santiago Oaks Regional Park)
- Location: Northeastern Orange County, east of the city of Orange. From route 55, take Katella east (it becomes Villa Park Road and then Santiago Canyon Road) for three miles to Windes Drive. Go left on Windes and follow it for about 3/4 of a mile into the park (the road is narrow and has a lot of sharp turns, so be careful). The parking fee is $3 for the day, or $5 on weekends and $7 on holidays.
- Agency: Santiago Oaks Regional Park
- Distance: 0.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 350 feet
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Suggested time: 30 minutes
- Best season: All year
- USGS topo maps: Orange
- More information: here; park map here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 5
If you only have time for a short hike at Santiago Oaks Regional Park, this is a good one to do. The figure-8 shaped double loop provides a nice amount of scenic variety and a pretty good workout in the bargain.
From the far end of the main parking lot, walk up the stairs past the nature center and follow the signs to the Windes Loop. The short loop ascends quickly up the side of the hill, providing nice vistas of the Anaheim Hills and the canyon below. After climbing, the Windes Trail descends to a junction with the Pacifica Loop. Head left to a split where you head uphill. A steep climb brings you to the top of a knoll, where on clear days you can see the ocean and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The trail heads downhill steeply, soon completing the loop. Continue downhill, past the end of the Windes Loop, finishing off by the nature center.
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. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.