If you’re in the Anaheim Hills area and have a couple hours to spare, the trails at Santiago Oaks Regional Park (and there are many of them) will lead you up to Robbers’ Roost; active dogs will have fun pulling you up the steep portions. If the skies are clear, or if the clouds are high, there’s a fantastic panoramic view to behold; just ignore the Edison transmission lines. In the spring, expect to see a colorful field of post-rain wildflowers. If you have a little more time, take the Barham Ridge Trail over to the Roadrunner Loop at the adjacent Irvine Regional Park. The trails are mostly uncovered, so it’s best to come on a cooler or overcast day. Beware the poison oak, rattlesnake and high-speed mountain bikers. Also a good place for trail running. Friday’s dog-friendly assessment: four paws up.
Our visit on January 14, 2012:
Path: Historic Dam Trail > Santiago Creek Trail > Mountain Goat Trail > Barham Ridge > Robbers’ Roost > Oak Trail > Wilderness Trail > Arizona Crossing Trail
Distance: 4 miles
Hiking Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 800′/800′
We kicked this trail’s butt. Our good IRL friends, Jeff and Colleen of Greene Adventures, had been here a few times and suggested we join them on this “easy morning dog friendly hike.” It was so easy that Friday took off running and made me go with her (including up the steep Mountain Goat Trail). And we hardly broke a sweat… and we’re not in shape. So when we say it’s easy… it’s EASY.
Reminder – we’re in the middle of Orange County suburbia… surrounded my McMansions, courgars and snakes, oh my!
Behold the views. The reward for running to the top of Robbers’ Roost is the stellar view of Santa Catalina Island, the Los Angeles Basin, and all the local mountain ranges. The recent winds also made for some really clear skies. Notable encounters included two red-tailed hawks, flying below us while at Robbers’ Roost. Pleasantly absent from our trip were mountain lions, rattlesnakes, bobcats and poison oak. Sadly absent: wildflowers.
Follow the horse poop. Friday had a ball; there was just enough horse poop and greenery on this trail to keep her nose engaged. My biggest workout was trailing her with a 6’ lead. You may or may not have the same experience with your dog.
Takeaway notes for next time. If we parked at the school just below Robbers’ Roost, we could get there quite easily… without hiking up the steep trails. The Greenes call this the “cheaters route.” We call it the “park fee exempt route;” both terms sound equally pleasant. And evidently, it’s beautiful at sunset.
We live around the corner from here, so we’ll be back soon. Join us?!
Kim and the gang
– 101 Hikes in Southern California, Jerry Schad (Hike # 53)
Other Recommended Reading:
– Barefoot Wandering and Writing (January 2012): January in the foothills: barefoot wandering at Santiago Oaks Regional Park
– Nobody Hikes in LA (November 2011): Santiago Oaks Regional Park
– Greene Adventures (February 2011): Exploring Santiago Oaks Regional Park: Inner Park Loop to Robbers Roost
– Brian and Ashley’s Hiking Blog (September 2009): Santiago Oaks Regional Park
The Whole Gang at Santiago Oaks Regional Park – Goat Trail Lookout.