10 Ways to Escape into the Wild Lands in O.C.

#1: Workout – Trade the Treadmill for the Trail

Weir Canyon Nature Preserve tests cardiovascular fitness and strength in a beautiful setting.

Hiking isn’t just a stroll through pretty nature areas. It’s better exercise than walking on flat, paved surfaces. Climbing and descending hills provide more of a cardiovascular workout, and negotiating uneven, rocky, or sandy surfaces requires lifting the legs higher and using core muscles for balance. Irvine Ranch Conservancy offers two weekend fitness hikes in Anaheim Hills’ Weir Canyon Nature Preserve. And while you’re building your fitness level, you can take in some of the finest old-oak woodland in Orange County.
Don’t be fooled by the name of the Saturday morning offering—the Intro Cardio Fitness Hike. It’s the longer and more difficult of the two, but still moderate: six miles with multiple climbs and descents. The Sunday morning hike, Beginning Fitness, is slightly shorter, at five miles, but follows a mostly flat route with one climb of about 450 feet.
Both hikes move at a pace of about three miles per hour, which is a leisurely walk in the city but fairly quick for hiking, especially when hills are involved. A few of the hikes are offered each month, but not every weekend.

Good to Know

➔ Five or six miles, varying climbs and descents. Saturday and Sunday mornings
➔ Free, pre-registration required, minimum age 13
➔ Weir Canyon Nature Preserve, Anaheim Hills. Register at letsgooutside.org/activities/ and in the “All Areas” menu, scroll to Weir Canyon Nature Preserve. Directions will be sent upon registration.