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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 and Parks

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

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.

Dana Point Hiking Trails

Dana Point Hiking Trails

Dana Point hiking trails create opportunities for the public to enjoy remarkable views and maximize coastal access while conserving the area’s natural beauty and wildlife. There are four conservation parks that lie within the 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.

The Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center is located right next to the CNLM 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.

The Nature Interpretive Center also offers tours. Public guided walks are offered at 9 a.m. on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of every month and will be led as follows:

  • Nature Tour: 1st Saturday
  • Whale Tour: 2nd Saturday
  • History Tour: 3rd Saturday

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 and conditions may cause serious and irreversible damage, erosion and harm to surrounding vegetation and pathways.

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.