Seed the Day!

Hike Among Redwoods in Orange County at Carbon Canyon Regional Park

What happens when a local bank seeds a promotion? Redwoods! At least in the case of the amazing redwoods you’ll find on a 2-mile loop hike in Brea’s Carbon Canyon Regional Park. The Carbon Canyon Regional Park Coastal Redwood Grove is by far the largest of its kind in Southern California, comprising 241 Sequoia sempervirens specimens. The tallest is nearly 100 feet! They were planted here in the 1970s when seedlings were donated during a local bank promotion. Park rangers have put forth intensive efforts to keep them healthy in the arid Orange County environment.

Pay the entrance fee ($3 on weekdays, $5 on weekends) and pass the first paved lot to a gravel road that takes you to plenty more parking (south lot) and find the marked trailhead at the east end of the lot. Head south on the wide dirt trail and turn right at the first T-junction and left at the second (conveniently, both have signs pointing you to the redwoods!). The trail is bordered by dense shrubs and walnut trees—look for piles of branches that represent the dens of dusky-footed woodrats and listen for resident towhees and robins. After half a mile, the giant arboreal wonders come into view.

As you walk along the mulch-covered soil (manicured specifically for the trees), you’re likely to feel the 10+ degree temperature drop. Be sure to read the interpretive signs about the grove’s history and maintenance (we especially liked the stories about the sprouts at the base of the tree—no spoilers!). Take a seat on one of the benches and relax under the redwoods.

Hike Carbon Canyon Regional Park Coastal Redwood Grove

Before heading back, you can take a brief side trip up the steep trail at the southwestern corner of the grove. This will take you out of the park but will reward you with views overlooking the grove and the Carbon Canyon Dam and town of Brea to the west.


Head back down and through the redwood grove again to return to your original trail. On the way back, however, head left toward the dam at the junction, which leads you back to the trailhead and lot, completing the loop.

BONUS BEER: Green Cheek Beer Co. in nearby north Orange does drive-by pickups of growlers, including perennial favorites and seasonal rotations (we like We Got the Weekend IPA, and Strawberry in Berlin, perfect for a hot day).

NOTE: Parking is limited at Carbon Canyon this summer due to construction work on site. Arrive early. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Three Beaches to the Wind

    This beautiful 7-mile (round-trip) coastal hike in the Marin Headlands connects three beaches: Muir Beach, Pirates Cove, and Tennessee Cove.

  2. Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

  3. Cross It Off Your Bucket List

    Crosstown Trail San Francisco may be one of the most beautiful city walks in America, passing through less-visited nooks and crannies while also taking in greatest hits, including mosaic stairways.

  4. Yosemite Magic Trick

    Yosemite’s High Country is magical and without crowds. At a lofty 8,700 feet, Tuolumne Meadows is one of the best trailheads for hiking or backpacking a land of smooth granite domes, high alpine meadows, jagged peaks, and sapphire lakes. Here's a 3-night backpacking itinerary...


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Sea Change

    Right in time for the balmy fall days, the crowds have left and Monterey Bay Aquarium is at its shoulder season best. Fewer people means relaxing with more room to roam and enjoy the animals, exhibits, and nearby outdoors for biking, hiking, and beaches.

  2. High Sierra Lake Hop

    Situated just north of Yosemite is a High Sierra wonderland that gets a fraction of the crowds and is a fantastic destination for backpacking. The Emigrant Wilderness is 113,000 acres of granite ridges, wildflower-strewn meadows, and cobalt lakes.

  3. Thanks, Annie!

    Annie’s Canyon Trail in the 1,000-acre San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Solana Beach includes the most unique quarter-mile you’ve ever maneuvered—through a sandstone slot canyon!

  4. Glam Paddling in Long Beach

    Sea kayaking doesn’t get any more glamorous than paddling the storybook canals around Long Beach’s Naples Island! You thread your way through calm waterways surrounded by luxury ho