Had I known that Black Star Canyon had a history of murders, bloody battles, and shoot-outs, I wouldn’t have been so keen to hike it. But on a quiet Friday morning, the weather was beautiful and Britta needed some exercise. Located in Northeast Orange County, this hike is only a few minutes from my home in North Tustin. If you take the “right fork,” you’ll cross the creek and scramble rocks before reaching a waterfall.
Along Black Star Canyon Road, while the trail was still covered by oak trees.
Our visit on March 29, 2013:
Path: Main road > 2.75 miles in towards Hidden Ranch (not the water fall) > Back out
Distance: 5.5 miles
Hiking Time: 3 hours
Total Elevation Gain/Loss: Unknown
This trail kicked my arse. Not because it was difficult (our path was very easy), but because I am very out of shape. As of this writing, my hips, shins and ankles are incredibly sore.
Despite the ailments, I’m so very glad my girlfriend Carla invited me along on a Friday morning hike with her and her dog, Rocky. The first part of this hike is incredibly beautiful, with a picturesque wooded area. There’s an old coal mine around here that operated in the 1800s, but it has been abandoned for quite awhile. Lots of sediment rocks, too.
The morning was beautiful. And the trial is wide and flat. Watch out for cyclists, they outnumbered us pedestrians about 10:1.
More morning light. This trail cuts through private property. We encountered a few homeless camps, abandoned houses, and even a miniature golf course (below).
Rock, rocks, and rocks.
Left: agave. Right: Britta in front of one of the many “no trespassing” signs.
Along the shaded trail.
More snippets along the way. Larger (and additional) photos can be found here.
It’s a tad dry this year, we’ve only had about 9 inches of rainfall out of the 30 that we were supposed to have by now. Regardless, we spotted some mustard, Indian paintbrush, and fennel. (And some purple chive blossoms that refused to be photographed by an iPhone camera.)
Once on the exposed part of the trail, this is the typical view looking back at the West coast. Here, you can barely see that the fog hasn’t burned off at the beach yet.
Turkey vultures were everywhere. In one instance, I counted a dozen circling together. Some came as close as about 8 feet overhead. I prayed for them to NOT poop on me.
This is the “best” view of the valley from a lookout point. Although not horrible, nothing to write home about, either.
OMG, a gopher snake! I didn’t see this on the trail… only later as I was editing photos. In other news, I like that Britta’s silhouette is that of a dog with a happy face.
On the way down… back in the section that is covered and beautiful. Lots of rock piles and shade trees.
And on the drive home. Everybody napped.
Kim and the gang
- 50 Hikes in Orange County, Karin Klein (Hike # 33)
Other Recommended Reading:
Excellent writeup: South Cal Adventures
Another helpful review: LAist