Scenic Red Rock Canyon Hike
Degree of Difficulty:
Total Distance: 4.6 miles
Trail Head: Portola Parking lot, west end
Trail Head Facilities: $3 Parking, Water, Bathrooms, Retail Shops
Included Trails: Borrego, Mustard, Red Rock Canyon
Trail Type: In & Out
This beautiful hike starts at the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park entrance on Portola Parkway located in Foothill Ranch. Begin by entering the Borrego Canyon trail at the west end of the parking lot. The trail meanders through Borrego Canyon and goes through several small streams. There is plentiful shade provided by oak and sycamore trees which align both sides of the canyon. This part of the hike is fairly flat (overall grade of 3%) and is a total distance of 1.6 miles. The Borrego Canyon trail ends at an intersection with Mustard Road.
Turn right (east) onto the Mustard Road Trail, a wide fire access road. Proceed up Mustard Road, past the first trail intersection (Cattle Pond Loop), about 700 feet. This portion of the hike is very popular with mountain bikers so please be alert. Shortly after you pass some picnic tables, turn onto the next trail on your left. This is the beginning of the Red Rock Canyon Trail.
Red Rock Canyon Trail is a hiker-only trail. It is narrow and a little rocky. Billy Goat trail forks off to the right after about 300 feet. Stay on the Red Rock Canyon Trail. The trail meanders in and out of a small creek bed, and ends in the midst of two giant red rock walls. The “Trail End” sign area is a perfect place to photograph one of the most beautiful spots in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. The Red Rock Canyon Trail is a little more than one half mile one-way and the overall grade is 7%.
Retrace your steps and enjoy the slightly downhill hike as you return to your car at the Portola parking lot.