Apple of Your Eye

Hike and see fall colors at Oak Glen Preserve near Yucaipa

That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Located near Yucaipa in none other than Oak Glen, and surrounded by apple orchards, this 909-acre preserve offers a glimpse at the variety of habitats found throughout southern California. Seeing the colorful leaves in the trees is an added bonus during this time of year.

sunflowers on a trail at Oak Glen Preserve near Yucaipa

HIkers' boots amid fallen apples on the ground at Oak Glen Preserve near Yucaipa

Hiker in a redwood grove at Oak Glen Preserve near Yucaipa in Oak Glen Southern California

The main loop is an easy 2-mile (round-trip) trail weaving through the preserve nestled at the base of Wilshire Peak, Cedar Mountain, and Oak Glen Peak. Along the way there are multiple spur trails that can be added to your hike for additional mileage and different sightseeing options (trail maps available at the kiosk at the entrance or online at the preserve’s website). As you set out from the 114-year-old Los Rios Rancho Apple Farm, the trail meanders along Sunflower Lane, which, as the name suggests, is a path lined with vibrant sunflowers.

Wetland at Oak Glen Preserve in Oak Glen Southern California

Continue on the main path and check out some spur trails for variety, including the Conifers of California. Hear a faint sound of hammering? That’s probably an acorn woodpecker stashing its treasures in tree trunks along this stretch of trail. The highlight of the Conifers of California section is a peaceful redwood grove at the southeast end of the spur. Once back on the main loop there are immediately two more spur options: Aquatic Ecosystems and Wetlands Boardwalk. Both of these take you through different water habitats, ponds and wetlands.

Hiker entering a forested area of Glen Oak Preserve in Glen Oak Inland Empire Southern California

Hiker at a deck overlooking a wetland at Oak Glen Preserve in the Inland Empire Southern California

The main loop then passes through an area of deciduous forest (ideal for getting you into the autumnal spirit) before the next spur option through chaparral. The final spur option along the trail is to Preservation Point, a strenuous undertaking that will add 1.8 miles to your total hike mileage but offers some cool vistas for anyone up for the challenge. All in, if you take every spur trail, the total mileage clocks in at 4.8 miles. Go long, go short, just go.

Apple cider donuts and apple cider slushy at Snowline Orchard in Yucaipa

APPLE CIDER DONUTS AND SLUSHIES: Snowline Orchard (39400 Oak Glen Rd.) is just a couple minutes west of the preserve and they’ve got apple cider donuts and apple cider slushies. While you’re there you can also do wine tasting, cider tasting, apple picking, and find plenty of apple treats at the farm store.

The Oak Glen Preserve is located at 39611 Oak Glen Rd. in Oak Glen, directly across the street from Los Rios Rancho apple orchard. From the I-10, exit on Live Oak Canyon Rd./Oak Glen Rd.and head north for approximately 11 miles. The preserve will be on the right side of the road. Free admission. Preserve is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dog-friendly!

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    That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Apple orchards and colorful leaves are a bonus, as are the apple cider donuts and slushies you can enjoy post-hike.

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