Hike the Dreaded Hill Loop in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Rate this Adventure Orange County Dreaded Hill Loop Parking Lot

Added by Julie & Brian

Whiting Ranch is a popular wilderness area in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. It's proximity to several Orange County cities makes it an ideal place to escape to nature for a quick bike ride or hike...the Dreaded Hills Loop is a favorite.

One of the great things about Whiting Ranch is the trail system branches off and reconnects in several places, so you can make your adventure as long or as short as you like. After exploring nearly every trail, this loop to the top of Dreaded Hill is our favorite because it has scenic views, and gives you a great workout.

Start at the parking lot on Glenn Ranch Road (parking is $3 and the machine accepts coin, $1 bills, and Visa/MC). Take the Coyote Brush Trail over to Line Shack Road and head left. The trail will wind down under a canopy of old oak trees and then intersects with Serrano Road where you will want to make a right. Enjoy the shade and scenery because things are about to get tough. Take the junction for the Dreaded Hill Trail, which will climb 600 ft in about one mile. At the top you will be rewarded with panoramic views of Orange County, and on a clear day you may even be able to spot Catalina Island! 

After catching your breath and taking in the scenery, head down to Water Tank Road and hang a right to go toward the Four Corners junction. Take the junction to head down on the Cactus Hill Trail to Santiago Ranch Road, to the Sleepy Hollow Trail. The Sleepy Hollow Trail is a favorite as it winds its way along a creek that is shaded by oak trees. If you visit after a lot of rainfall, you truly feel like you have been transported to another world as everything turns green and wildflowers flourish here. The trail will empty out onto the wider, Concourse Road trail, which will take you back to Line Shack. After a short climb back out of the forest canopy, you will arrive back to your car.

Whether you choose do do this route, or create you own path, be sure to hike in groups, as mountain lions are known to frequent the area. Also keep in mind that hikers, bikers, and equestrians share many of the trails, so be mindful.

There's no doubt that you will have worked up an appetite after this hike, and given the location there are several great options to choose from. In-N-Out always hits the spot for me, and there is one just down the street off of Alton and Portola. Or if you feel like tacos and beer, there is a Wahoo's Fish Taco just at the bottom of Glenn Ranch Road.

For a trail map and more information, visit the OC Parks website here: http://ocparks.com/parks/whiti...

Pack List

  • $3 for paking (the machine accepts coin, $1 bills, and Visa/MC)
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Water/Snacks
  • Camera
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Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



6.3 Miles


Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby

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Added by Julie & Brian

A photographer and writer with full time jobs and a passion for travel. We spend most of our free time exploring our native state of California, while dreaming about and planning our next adventures abroad. www.boundtoexplore.com | @boundtoexplore

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