Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park

Overview:

Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park is a great place for any van or RV nomad looking to camp and hike in Orange County. The park is only located 15-min into the Santa Ana Mountains but seems a lot further. The park offers great camping, wildlife viewing, and some of the best hiking in the region.

Adventure:

Caspers Wilderness Park is a hidden jewel within the Orange County park system. Any van or RV nomad who likes to camp and wants to get away from the city, but not too far, will enjoy staying here.

The park is 8,000 acres of protected wilderness and is set among sandstone canyons. It is situated on the western coastal side of the Santa Ana Mountains. 

The park has restrooms, showers, a playground, water, and equestrian camping. It also has a nature center with many local area exhibits on display. 

The park is known for its native Coastal Live Oak and magnificent California Sycamore trees. It is one of the last remaining places where you can get a true feel of how California looked before we concreted everything.

Seasonal wildflowers put on a display in the park April – May, and there are a few running streams that flow after a decent rain.

Sorry: Dogs are not allowed in the park.

Mountain Biking

The park is a great place to go mountain biking. With the numerous trails and fire roads, you will have no problem finding a place to ride your mountain bike and test your skills.

Hiking

There are various hiking trails that you can take to explore the park and surrounding area. The trails range from easy to moderate. Below are the most popular trails in the park:

  • East Ridge Bell Canyon Loop Trail (Easy)
  • Bell Canyon West Ridge and Dick LosKorn Trail (Moderate)
  • Bell Canyon, Oso, and Cougar Pass Trail (Moderate)

There are also Ranger-guided walks on Sundays. Walks during the week can be arranged by advance appointment. 

Park Fees

Parking fees (day use): $3 per vehicle entry Monday – Friday; $5 Saturday – Sunday; Higher for some holidays and events

It’s a privilege to have Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park for our enjoyment, so please practice Leave No Trace principles.

References and Links:

Hiking

San Juan Hot Springs

San Juan Hot Springs adjacent to Highway 74 has seen better days. There is not too much left except for a couple of pools of hot steamy water. Back in the 60s and early 70s, San Juan Hot Springs was a hippie hangout. Before that, there were San Juan Capistrano Hot springs.

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Surfing

San Onofre State Beach

San Onofre State Beach is a wonderful place for any van lifer to spend time camping and surfing on the California coast. The park is a 3,000-acre and 3 miles south of San Clemente on Interstate 5 at Basilone Road. The state park is leased to California by the United States Marine Corps.

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