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Parks And Trails Can Give You a New Perspective

A Trek Worth Taking

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On-land Adventure
Dana Point Hiking

What activities give you access to mountaintop views of the Pacific Ocean and a great workout? Dana Point hiking and mountain biking. These two land-based activities might take you away from the beautiful beaches in Dana Point but they’ll give you a new perspective on this Southern California paradise. And you can always jump into the ocean at Baby Beach to cool off after.

Dana Point hiking trails are among the most well-loved parts of the town. While surfing remains the gold standard of outdoor adventure in Dana Point, hiking in Dana Point is just as popular, especially on the Headlands Conservation Area Trail System. Dana Point hiking trails are the perfect way to get the lay of the land here in Orange County and are a great way to stay active and get out into the California sunshine when you don’t want to relax on the beach.

Southern California is unlike any other place on earth and Dana Point’s public trail system links all of the conservation parks and public open spaces area of the Headlands with pedestrian trails, coastal and beach access, scenic overlooks and the Nature Interpretive Center.

hikes in dana point

Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center

The Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center is located right next to the Center for Natural Land Management Dana Point Preserve at the end of Scenic Drive (again Green Lantern becomes scenic drive). This center provides support, management, operational space, and more and is the focal point, designed as a visitor center for the Conservation Area.

Open Tuesday-Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. Check the City of Dana Point website for hours and tours:

Conservation Areas and Hikes in Dana Point

Hikes in Dana Point create opportunities for the public to enjoy remarkable views and maximize coastal access while conserving the area’s natural beauty and wildlife.

Dana Point Headlands Trail and Conservation Area

The trails within the Headlands are open from 7 a.m. to sunset, daily. In an effort to protect and sustain the trail systems, trails may be closed to visitors after a heavy rainstorm. Foot traffic during wet and muddy conditions may cause serious and irreversible damage, erosion, and harm to surrounding vegetation and pathways
There are four conservation parks that lie within the Headlands trail system:

  • Hilltop Conservation Park
  • Harbor Point Conservation Park
  • Dana Point Preserve
  • South Strands Conservation Park

Each of these parks and trails can be reached off of Green Lantern or from Dana Strand Rd. (located at the end of Selva Rd.), with parking available on both of these streets or at the Nature Interpretive Center parking lot.

In totality, the public trail system is about three miles in length, and it implements policies and guidelines dictated by the Dana Point General Plan and the Local Coastal Plan and provides a comprehensive system that supports the relationship between the Headlands, beaches, Dana Point Harbor, and the Pacific Ocean.

The City of Dana Point has 36 parks and more than 11 miles of pedestrian and multi-use trails for residents and visitors to enjoy. All parks and trails are open to the public between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. unless otherwise noted (see above). For more general information about Dana Point parks and trails, visit Dana Point Parks and Recreation.

Dana Point Harbor and Island

Dana Point Harbor and Island walk is perfectly Pet-Friendly for those traveling with four-legged friends or small kids that want a primarily flat walk with cool views. Loop the harbor with stops at the shops or restaurants along the way, or take that Insta photo opp with the Richard Henry Dana statue on the island. Ocean breezes and views of sea lions along the way make this open air venue perfect for an easy vacation stroll.