By John McKinney
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Weir Canyon Wilderness Park
Weir Canyon Loop Trail
From Hidden Canyon a 4-mile loop with 300-foot elevation gain
From the trail high on the west wall of Weir Canyon, the hiker gets a view of Orange County that’s both stereotypical and surprising. The view westward is that of Orange County to the max: houses perched everywhere on the slopes of the Anaheim Hills, several freeways, the city of Anaheim, plus many more cities sprawling toward the coast. In contrast to this 21st century vista, the view east is minimalist Orange County; that is to say, mostly parkland, a pastoral landscape of hills and canyons that in the right light looks like a plein-air painting made during the late 19th century.
Weir Canyon Wilderness Park (the name wilderness might be stretching the definition a bit, but it’s certainly a wilderness compared to the developed areas of the Anaheim Hills) is one of those great so-near-yet-so-faraway places in Orange County to take a hike. It’s a pleasure to report it’s the park—not nearby subdivisions—that’s been extending its boundaries farther into the hills toward the toll road (Highway 241).
Geographers say the Anaheim Hills comprise a long, low ridge extending west from the Santa Ana Mountains and rising above Santa Ana Canyon and the Santa Ana River.
Weir Canyon Trail offers a gentle introduction to the considerable pleasures of these hills.
Directions to trailhead: From the Riverside Freeway (91) in Anaheim Hills, exit on Weir Canyon Road. Head south 0.7 mile to Serrano Avenue. Turn right (west) and proceed 2 miles to Hidden Canyon Road. Turn left (south and follow it a half-mile to its end at Overlook Terrace and the signed trail head. Park along Hidden Canyon Road.
The hike: From the park sign, the trail leads northeast. Ignore a path descending toward the canyon bottom and continue on the main path as it rises and then levels. Enjoy eastward views into Weir Canyon and westward ones of some intriguing sandstone outcroppings.
The path dips into and climbs out of some minor side canyons, skirts some residences at about the 2.5 mile mark, then U-turns and begins heading south. After leading you a mile along the western rim of Weir Canyon, the path drops to the end of Avenida de Santiago. Walk down the steep residential street to Hidden Canyon Road, turn left, and return to the trail head.
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