Mr. Beek's Mountain Dream

Hiking to Beek's Place in the Santa Ana Mountains

Hiking to Beek's Place in the Santa Ana Mountains

Beek’s Place in the Santa Ana Mountains is one of those great California shrines to faded dreams, and well worth the thigh-burning 10.5-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to get there. The trail gains 2,227 feet of elevation as it consistently rewards you with an expansive view of the majestic San Gabriel Mountains to the east and the Orange County coastline to the west.

Joe Beek was a real estate man who played a major role in developing Balboa Island in the mid-20th century. He started building Beek’s Place in 1929 as a hobby retreat and attempted to power the property with wind generators. A giant steel structure close to the cabin ruins is all that remains of this endeavor. Beek developed the property to have running water, power, and even a swimming pool. All the coniferous trees in the surrounding area were planted by the Beeks and were able to grow because of the water that was pumped to the property. Joe’s grandson, Charles Beek, finally abandoned the property in the early 1970s.

Begin on Skyline Drive Trail, which is paved and clearly marked by a sign. The first half-mile is asphalt and then turns into packed dirt. Skyline Drive is a fire road and highly trafficked by hikers and off-road cyclists. After a mile the trail quickly ascends with a series of switchbacks that keep Hagador Canyon in full view. Many of the ascending turns offer an unimpeded view of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges. At 4.7 miles, at a major fork, continue straight, and a short distance ahead you’ll come over the ridgeline and see Orange County all the way to the coastline. When you see a large metallic structure (possibly with many vultures perched atop it), you’ll know you’re in the right place. Just past that, within view, are the old foundations and the remains of Beek’s dreams.

From the 91 Freeway in Corona, take the Lincoln Ave. exit and head south. Make a right on Foothill Pkwy. At the intersection of Foothill Pkwy. and Trudy Way, make a U-turn. From there you'll see the roadside parking along the south side of Foothill Pkwy. Dog-friendly!

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Woman hiking the Coastal Trail in the Marin Headlands

    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.

    View
  2. Damme Good Camping

    Just a few miles south of the town of Mendocino is one of the best hike-in (or bike-in) campgrounds on the California coast. Van Damme State Park follows Little River inland from the ocean, and the nine first-come, first-served environmental campsites can be reached via the Fern Canyon Trail.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais Matt Davis Steep Ravine Dipsea to Stinson Beach

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

    View
  4. Calaveras Giants

    Contending as some of the tallest, mightiest, and most muscular spectacles in the state are the hulking (and beautiful) trees of Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Hit the trails to witness spectacular groves of giant sequoia redwoods.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Best of the Summer Fests!

    Outdoor winery events featuring films, food, wine, live music, and Sonoma’s cinematic scenery in the background: now that’s a blockbuster summer weekend!

    View
  2. Hiker on Proctor Mountain Loop Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Storied Trail

    If ever there was a fairy trail, this 6.8-mile lollipop loop on Sun Valley’s Proctor Mountain is it. The Proctor Mountain Trail is a storied route in more ways than one, starting with its tranquil oasis memorial for a famous writer, Ernest Hemingway.

    View
  3. Two bikers on the Wood River Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Two Wheels to Zen

    The family-friendly Wood River Trail goes over an historic bridge, past art sculptures and ranch-roaming horses, all amid sprawling green valley and a mountainous backdrop. Roll out from the Farmers Market at River Run Lodge and pedal the 8-mile (round-trip) ride to Sun Valley’s Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

    View
  4. This Part of the Backbone

    The Ray Miller Trail comprises the final stretch of the Backbone Trail in Malibu’s Point Mugu State Park, and makes an idyllic moderate beach hike during spring and early summer.

    View