Lago Santa Margarita,
Rancho Santa Margarita
The 1.1-mile paved path circles the pristine waters of this neighborhood lake, which has a maximum depth of 8 feet and is home to a variety of wildlife, including turtles. Take note of the 22 floating botanical islands, a unique design feature added in recent years to help maintain the water quality and aquatic habitat. There are plants such as canna lilies, water hyssop, and papyrus. Seating areas abound, along with shaded, grassy knolls that are perfect for picnicking. The lake is accented with a postcard view of Mount Modjeska and Mount Santiago, the twin peaks that form Saddleback. Activities include recreational fishing and operating remote-controlled boats. Have a meal at one of the lakefront restaurants such as The Blind Pig or Carmelita’s. There is dedicated parking as well as spots at the retail plaza and on the street.
Distance: 0.7 mile, loop
Details: This neighborhood trail features an asphalt walking path along the perimeter of the lake with benches, picnic tables, charming footbridges, and expansive grassy areas.
City: Laguna Beach
Distance: 2.8 miles, loop
Details: Visit Orange County’s only natural lake with this trek through Laguna Canyon.
Shipley Nature Trail
City: Huntington Beach
Distance: 1.1 miles, loop
Details: This trail features views of Huntington Lake and a variety of wildlife. Dine at Kathy May’s Lakeview Cafe for classic comfort food and peaceful scenery.