Borrego Canyon / Red Rock (dayhike)

Trip date: 4/13/13

Location: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park 

Permit/Pass: Day use (weekday) - $3, (weekend) - $5, Annual Pass ($55 or $80)

Trails: Park map 

Directions: From CA Hwy 241 (Foothill Transportation Corridor Toll Road) in Foothill Ranch take the Alton Pkwy exit east to the intersection with Portola Pkwy. Turn right onto Portola Pkwy and move into the left-most lane in preparation for turning left on Market Pl. After making the turn onto Market, take the immediate left into the parking lot, at the north end of which you'll find the Borrego trailhead. If you don't have a county pass, remember to pay at the machine.

Trail sequence: Borrego Canyon / Mustard Road / Red Rock Canyon / Mustard Road / Cattle Pond Loop / Mustard Road / Vista Lookout Road / Mustard Road / Borrego Canyon

Type: Out and back

Distance: 6.4 miles

Elevation: Min 701’, Max - 1541’


Rating: Moderate

Synopsis: The hike begins with an easy stroll through lush canyon bottom flanked by houses on the ridges on either side. This takes you through some riparian areas and oak woodlands before climbing gently through a wash to red rock cliffs. After heading back down a side trip ascends, steeply at times, along heavily impacted hillsides to an overlook with some nice views. This is a popular hike in a suburban park. On weekends expect plenty of hikers and bikers.


Borrego / Red Rock - Whiting Ranch

Turn by turn:

  -- From the trailhead sign-board pick up Borrego trail, dropping down into the canyon bottom and then gently heading up-canyon. 

  -- After about a mile you come to a junction with Mustard trail. Turn right (east) and follow Mustard for a short distance before coming to an area with picnic tables. Here there is a connection with Cattle Pond loop, which you’ll take later, and Red Rock trail. Veer off (northeast) onto Red Rock trail.

  -- Follow Red Rock to its end beneath some spectacularly eroded cliffs. After returning the same way take the right (northwest) turn onto Cattle Pond loop. This is a short climb up along a hillside.

  -- Cattle Pond loop circles around to the south and soon junctions with Mustard trail. Turn right (west) onto Mustard trail which begins to climb immediately.

  -- Follow the continuous ascent along Mustard trail as you head up to a level area with some good views. As you walk on, generally trending west, you meet a “Y” split in the path. Veer right to take Vista Lookout Road and finish the climb to the Vista Outlook where you’ll find a picnic table and more views.

  -- Heading back down you’ll pick up Mustard trail again. Ignore the turn onto Cattle Pond loop and meet Borrego trail just a few yards later.

  -- Turn right (south) onto Borrego trail and follow it back to the trailhead.