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Caspers Wilderness Park

Bells Canyon Oso Trail Loop

Los Angeles Metro Area, California

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Caspers Wilderness Park

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  • Many large cactus line the canyon floor.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • A wide road makes for easy walking.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Santiago Peak looming in the distance.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Many views along the exposed path.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Santa Ana Mountains.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Looking back at Bells Canyon.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Oso Trail weaving right marks the way back.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Views from the ridge in Caspers Wilderness Park.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Panorama just after the rest area.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Possible trail to shorten the loop.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Wide road trail for much of the hike.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Many cactus dot the side of the path.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • A welcome tree to rest in the shade.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Returning to the trees on the way back.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • Hundreds of cacti appear along the route.- Caspers Wilderness Park
  • East Ridge Trail yields a few last views. - Caspers Wilderness Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Accessible. Easy trails.
Cons: 
Little water.
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Region:
Los Angeles Metro Area, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,626.00 ft (495.60 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
12.00 mi (19.31 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
452.00 ft (137.77 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The area now known as the Caspers Wilderness Park has changed hands as cattle ranch property for many years leading up to the 1970s. The area was eventually donated to the Starr Foundation in 1971, and it was deeded to the National Audobon Society for use as a wildlife sanctuary in 1973. In late 1974, under direction from Chairman Ronald W. Caspers, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to purchase the southern 5,500 acres of the sanctuary for use as public recreation. This park was later named the Starr Viejo Regional Park, and it was used for primitive wilderness day use and camping.

After a tragic accident in 1974 where Caspers, his family, and many of his friends were lost at sea, the Board of Supervisors voted to change the name of the park in his honor. In 1984 an extension to the park was acquired, bringing it to the huge 7,600 acre portion of Bells Canyon as it exists today.

There are many interlocking trails that can make for an endless variety of loops for hiking, trail running, or horseback riding. Take the Bell Canyon Trail north until the beginning of the Oso Trail, and after a climb and easy ridgewalk you will come to a shaded picnic table with a view that makes for a great lunch spot. Continue following the Oso Trail as it gets closer and closer to majestic views of the Santa Ana Mountains, dominated by Santiago Peak (5,689 feet).

The trail will eventually curve south and lose elevation as it nears the portion that parallels US-74 until it veers right back into the park. Briefly touch a parking lot near the park entrance before heading back into the wilderness to use the East Ridge Trail and Quail Run to squeeze more views out of your day on the way back to your vehicle.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(23 within a 30 mile radius)

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