The Olinda Oil Trail and Museum stand in the oil fields remaining from the oil boomtown of Olinda. While most of the area has been incorporated into the city of Brea, the museum preserves the area's oil-rich past, while the Olinda Oil Trail climbs the hillside dotted with active machinery and tops out with views over the area that stretch out to the coastal cities and Catalina Island on a clear day.
The town of Olinda grew with the discovery of oil fields and the unique way the village extracted oil. The village pioneered drilling for oil in a water-filled hole, which helped permeate the sandstone beneath the surface. When the Carbon Canyon Dam was built in 1959, much of the village's area was inundated beneath the surface of the reservoir, essentially ending the town's oil-producing legacy.
Our suggestion is to begin at the museum and take the trail in a clockwise direction, unless you're thirsting for a long uphill slog through the chaparral-dusted hillside. Currently, the Oil Trail traces a 1.9-mile loop that climbs the shadeless single-track hillside, weaving among interpretive signs and oil machines, before dropping into a ravine and intersecting with Santa Fe Road for the return to the museum parking area. The museum and park have historical displays, covered benches, water, and bathrooms. The museum is free and open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Olinda Trail is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. With about 425 feet in total climbing, the trail has a moderate uphill slope. There are a couple benches along the way, but there is almost no shade or water.