Carbon Canyon Park is located off of Carbon Canyon Rd right past Valencia Avenue in Brea. Spanning 124-acres, the park is a good mix of recreation and wilderness. The park has something for everyone, from Orange County’s only Redwood grove, to a 4-acre lake to go fishing, to tennis, baseball, and volleyball courts. A trip to Carbon Canyon Park is a great way to spend a day getting out into the sunshine with your 2 and 4-legged friends.
First things first, this park charges an entrance fee of $3 during the week and $5 per car on the weekends so be prepared for that cost when you enter the park. If you live close by, and plan on visiting multiple times a year, you might want to opt for the annual pass which is $55($35 for seniors) this pass will also get you into multiple parks throughout Orange County. For a full list of the included parks, CLICK HERE. Dog are allowed in Carbon Canyon Park but must be leashed.(I have seen coyotes multiple times during daylight hours in the park, and I’ve seen owners letting their small dogs off leash on the dirt trails because they’re “well trained”, as you can probably conclude, you’re asking for a trouble if you do this)
The parks hours are:
Park Hours: Fall – Winter Hours, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST
Park Hours: Spring – Summer Hours, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. PDT
Office Hours: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday
For me, the main attraction is definitely the redwood grove. It’s not everyday you get to see these beautiful trees in Southern California. From the parking lot closest to the Redwoods, it’s a little over a mile there and back, so this hike can be done in less than 30 minutes for most people. The trail leading up to the redwoods isn’t shaded and during the Summer months it can get pretty hot, so make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing to deal with the heat and I recommend packing a portable water bowl for your dog as well.
When you first enter the grove you can immediately feel the temperature drop, so on a hot day it’s a good place to hang out for a while to take a break from the heat. They also have some information about why there are costal redwoods in the middle of Orange County and how they maintain them if you are interested in a quick read. There are a few benches you can sit at and a water fountain to grab a quick drink before heading back.
If a mile hike is too short for you and your dog, once you’re done visiting the redwoods, you can head back toward the main park area and continue on the Carbon Canyon Creek Nature Trail that goes around the perimeter of the park. One word of caution for you and your dog, there are cacti and even some poison oak along the trails. Make sure you’re watching where your dog is sniffing to prevent any issues. The poison ivy is usually marked, but always keep an eye out while on any of the dirt trails in the park.
I like to take Creek Trail to the end of the park(where the nature center is) before turning around and heading back to the car through the center of the park. There are a couple reasons I take the paved trail through the park on the way back:
1) New scenery to check out
2) There is a dog specific water fountain next to the event center
3) The main part of the park is well shaded by large trees and provides a good way to cool down before getting back to the car.
If you walk the route described above it adds about 2 miles to the walk for a total of 3 miles of hiking.
Quick note: Chino Hills State Park connects to Carbon Canyon park where the Nature center is located. Dogs are currently not allowed on the trails in that section of Chino Hills State park. CLICK HERE to see what areas dogs can visit inside Chino Hills State Park
If you want to stay in the park longer, there are plenty of other things to do besides hiking. You can bring lunch and eat around the large lake while your dog watches the ducks and birds fly by, go fishing, take the kids to one of the many playgrounds, play some volleyball, tennis, soccer, baseball, horse shoes, etc…
If you want to plan an all-day event, like a Birthday, you are able to reserve some of the shelters for $100 a day HERE.
Finally, if your dog still needs to get more energy out, even after a hike in Carbon Canyon, you can head over the Wildcatters Dog Park which is only a mile away, this will hopefully guarantee they are tired when they get home(at least for a little while).
If you want more information about Carbon Canyon Park, check out the cities website www.ocparks.com/parks/carbon. Enjoy the Orange County weather and get outdoors!