Peter's Canyon Regional Park Peter's Canyon Regional Park

Peter Canyon Regional Park: One Step Guide

Peter Canyon Regional Park is one of the famous parks and comes under the Californian regional park system. It is a 354-acre park that has most of the wildlife of Southern California.

This park is located in Orange County, California. Peters canyon regional park was established around 1992 and was initially used for grazing cattle.

This was started by the Irvine Company. This regional park falls within the boundaries of California and both Orange and even Tustin, California.

It is a park in California that is surrounded by hills on one side and has a residential area on the other side. This park is quite popular due to its convenient location, cleanliness, and some great trails present in the regional park.

There is a man-made lake spread across 50 acres made by the Irvine company which circumvents the region of these trails in the regional park.

Peter Canyon Regional Park
Image by 12019 from Pixabay Copyright 2016

1. 4 Amusing Facts of Peter Canyon Regional Park

1.1. History of the Regional Park

The Peter canyon regional park was a part of the Spanish land spread across 47, 000 acres and was allotted by Governor Pico Pico to a person named Teodosio Yorba in the year 1846.

This land grant was known as the Rancho Lomas de Santiago

A part of the land was designated to become the peter canyon regional park and was called the Canon de Las Ranas. This means the canyon of the frogs.

This name was given because it empties into the Cienega de las Ranas, which translates to “the canyon of the frogs.”

The land belonging to Teodosio Yorba was purchased by James Irvine in the year 1897. This land was then leased to various farmers.

One of the farmers was James Peter who used it for building a ranch house. A little Peter Lake was present at the lower part of the canyon where an eucalyptus groove was planted.

Some sportsmen introduced the sport of golf in 1899. A red clubhouse was also built on the ridge side that extended to the upper canyon reservoir.

The upper reservoir in the Peters canyon was built in the year 1931 while the lower reservoir was in the year 1940 as a means of water conservation.

The lower reservoir is now used as a flood control basin. The agriculture of the orange grooves bloomed in peters canyon due to the rich availability of water.

This reservoir of the Peters Canyon is now named the Peter Canyon Wash. The canyon wash is a part of San Diego Creek that flows into Newport Bay, a 26-mile waterway.

1.1.1. Camp My Ford

The U.S. Army had set up a training area during World War II which was called the Camp Commander. The setup was near the eucalyptus trail near Peters Lake in the park.

The soldiers established here fought with the soldiers of the camp Rathke established in the Irvine Regional Park which was about 2 miles away.

There were weekend scouting events carried out from the year 1952 to 1988 and was called Camp My Ford. The Tustin Ranch Estates occupied a part of the camp by Ford.

The 354-acre share of the land was donated to the County of Orange by the Irvine Company. This was done for the establishment of a regional park on 3 March 1992.

This part of the space is now preserved for use by the public.

1.2. Peter Canyon Regional Park Trails

Peter Canyon’s regional park is one of the famous destinations for the recreational activities of hiking, bike riding, and horseback riding. The various trails of the park are

  • Lake view trail
  • Skylark Trail
  • Trail of the Lower Peter’s Canyon
  • Opossum Trail
  • Trail of the Meadowlark
  • Trail of Newport Boulevard
  • Sage Trail
  • Trail of the Peters canyon creek
  • Gnat catcher Trail
  • East ridge view trail
Trail Walk | Peters Canyon Regional Park | Orange County, California

Different trails of the regional park are:

1.2.1. Peters Canyon Trail

This is the loop trail of the regional park which covers a length of 9.5 km to be covered in around 2 hours and 20 minutes. It is a trail with well-maintained and beautiful pathways and steep hills.

The trail is a bit of a challenging route but can be covered well. This is located near Villa Park, California.

The trailhead is not much covered in shade. There is a parking lot with the loop trail which is filled up fast so you need to arrive on time. A 3$ parking fee is charged

The trail is famous for activities like mountain biking, running, and horseback riding. It is open for people all year round and is open from 7 am to sunset. The timings may differ due to the weather conditions.

The dogs are also allowed but on a leash. There are great views of the lake, forest, wildlife, and plantations of wildflowers.

1.2.2. Lake View trail

It is Peter Canyon’s lake view loop which covers a length of around 3.4 km covered in about 49 minutes. This trail includes the route which covers Peters Lake in the regional park.

The trail is used for walking, running, mountain biking, and horseback riding. This is also a lake view loop covering some amazing views of the park.

It is generally open all year round and is closed sometimes due to the weather conditions. Beautiful birds are visiting this part so famous for bird watching. Dogs are allowed but on a leash.

Parking facility available and a fee of 3$ is charged.

1.2.3. East Ridge View Trail

It is Peter’s canyon lake view and the east ridge view trail. It is a trail of 8.5 km long and is covered in around 2 hours and 8 minutes.

The trail route is in the form of a loop and is very popular for various activities.

It is one of the best trails for horseback riding, mountain bikes, and hiking. Leashed dogs are allowed. On the path route, a variety of wildflowers and wildlife can be seen.

The trail covers 340 acres of land which has coastal sage scrub, grassland habitats, freshwater marsh, and riparian.

The best time for visiting the trail is around October. There is parking available and a 3$ fee is charged.

1.3. Wildlife at the Park

The Peter Canyon regional park in Orange County, California is popular for its variety of wildlife seen. There are more than 100 species of migratory birds visiting the place.

The various species of wildlife that are seen include opossums, rattlesnakes, mule deer, raccoons, bobcats, and coyotes. Some mountain lions are even seen but the attacks are not reported much.

Some reptiles, amphibians, and insects that may be poisonous or non-poisonous are a part of the native habitat.

Black willows, wading birds, and migrating waterfowl are a part of the bird species seen at the Peter Canyon reservoir throughout the year. There are Tri-colored blackbirds, Gnat catchers, Rufus-crowned sparrows, and Cactus wrens.

 Wildlife at Peter Canyon regional park
Image by Margit Wallner from Pixabay

There are some non-native and indigenous plants and trees which are a part of the park. The variety includes oaks, willows, sycamore, Black cottonwood line trees, varieties of cacti, and other wild bushes.

The southern part of the Peters canyon regional park has a eucalyptus forest whose plantation was started by James Peter.

There is even freshwater marsh, grassland habitats, coastal sage scrub, and riparian seen along the trails of the park. There is also a Peters canyon creek which runs seasonally.

The Peter canyons regional Park has its supervisors assigned to the protection of wildlife and its visitors. At the time of any adversity like fire or natural calamity, fishing activity in the reservoirs and swimming in the canyon creek or canyon reservoir is prohibited.

1.4. Park Amenities and Rules

There are facilities provided at the peters canyon regional park like free street parking, bathrooms, Porta-potties at mid-way scenic views, Trails for mountain bikers, Tables, trails to hike, and trails for horseback riding.

There are great scenic canyon views at the park and even has picnic tables for the guests visiting the park. There are two picnic spots assigned at the Peters canyon regional park.

One spot is next to the main office lying under the Californian pepper trees. The Other spot is the Lone Pine area which is present at the southern part of the dam present on the trail of the lake view loop.


Some rules in the Peters canyon regional park are a must to be followed:

  • Prohibition of the use of any intoxicant
  • Dogs allowed only on a leash
  • Fishing activity is not allowed
  • The speed limit of 10 MPH is only allowed
  • Weather conditions are to be checked before visiting the park.
  • Swimming in the lake or any water crafting is not allowed.
  • Stay alert from the mountain lions in the area.
  • Children are to be with the adults at all times in the park
  • Any weapons of arms related to fire are not allowed
  • E-bikes are allowed only on the designated areas and trails

The Peters Canyon Regional Park is a great place for many residents of the area and the tourists visiting it. In one location, there is a rare combination of relaxation and adventure. The park’s canyon views are incredibly lovely and captivating in several ways.

The ample parking space, well-maintained parking lot, beautiful ridgeline views, peters canyon hike, Newport Beach, and peters canyon trail are all must-visit when; in California.

Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by Janhavi Ramesh Kowligi