Live Oak / Hoffman Homestead (dayhike)

Trip Date: 12/24/2013

Location: O'Neill Regional Park

Permit/Pass: Day use ($5), O.C. Parks Annual Pass ($55).

Trails: OC Parks MapGTN Mileage Map

Directions: From the 241 Toll Road take Santa Margarita Parkway east for a bit over a mile before coming to Plano Trabuco Road. Turn left here and follow the road as it narrows and turns west, becoming Trabuco Canyon Rd. Drive 1.8 miles to the entrance to O'neill Regional Park, just after the road takes a sharp bend to the north. After passing the pay station, turn right and follow the road back to the Live Oak Day Use area. There is parking here, and the trailhead is at the northwest corner of the area.

Trail sequence: Live Oak trail / Vista trail / Hoffman Homestead trail / Live Oak 

Type: Balloon loop

Distance: 4.6 miles

Elevation: Min. - 826', Max. - 1469'


Rating: Moderate (factors: rocky trails, steep sections)

Synopsis: The Live Oak trail offers a nice overview of O'neill Regional Park. This hike climbs to an overlook and then drops down through beargrass hills to oak woodlands. Some of the loop is spent within earshot of roads, and residences are never long out of view, but this is a nice walk with both mountain and ocean views.


Live Oak / Hoffman Homestead - O'neill Regional Park

Turn by turn:

  -- Begin by sliding around the gate and walking up the road, where very quickly a couple of trail split off to the left. The first one is the Edna Spaulding Nature trail, the second one - the one that immediately ascends - is Live Oak trail. Take Live Oak.

  -- After about a half mile of ups and downs you descend to meet a paved road where Live Oak takes a left turn (one expects to continue straight but that puts you on Pawtooth trail).

  -- Soon after climbing up a fire road there is an intersection with Hoffman Homestead trail on the right. This is where you'll close the loop later on. Stay straight on Live Oak trail.

  -- Another mile of traveling north brings you to the Vista trail on the right. Turn here and climb to Vista Point.

  -- At the eastern end of the Vista Point area the trail continues east and down from the overlook. Eventually, after a few switchbacks, the path ends up at a junction with Hoffman Homestead trail.

  -- Turn right on Hoffman Homestead and head south for about a mile and a half, working your way in and out of several canyons, brushing against roads, and crossing other trails, before ascending to reconnect with Live Oak trail.

  -- Turn left (south) on Live Oak and retrace your original path back to the trailhead.


Photo Gallery: Flickr