I recently had an amazing hike at Hillcrest Park, joining the HikingOC group. I was truly awed by the park's beauty and its challenging stairways.
Hillcrest Park, nestled in the heart of Fullerton, California, is a testament to the city's dedication to preserving natural beauty within an urban landscape. This park, often called the "Crown Jewel of Fullerton," offers visitors an enchanting escape into nature. It boasts lush greenery, serene pathways, and a unique feature that sets it apart – a network of stairs that beckons hikers and fitness enthusiasts.
A Stairway to Natural Beauty
One of the most captivating aspects of Hillcrest Park is its intricate staircase system winding through the park's rolling hills. The park sits atop several hills, and these staircases provide both access and breathtaking views of Fullerton and Orange County.
Dedicated hikers often take on the main stairs, going up and down multiple times for an exhilarating workout. But beyond the stairs, you can explore trails through lush landscapes, enjoy picnic areas, and even find a kid's playground.
The staircases at Hillcrest Park offer a range of experiences:
- Main Staircase: A moderately challenging climb with a length of about 0.5 miles and an elevation gain of 150 feet. It provides access to the central areas of the park.
- Eastern Staircases: These offer gentler inclines, perfect for leisurely strolls. They come in various lengths, from 0.2 to 0.4 miles.
- Western Staircases: If you're up for more of a challenge and want to access the western trails, these stairs are for you. They range from 0.3 to 0.6 miles in length.
Picnicking in Tranquil Surroundings
Hillcrest Park is a hiker's paradise and a haven for picnickers seeking a peaceful setting for an outdoor meal. You'll find numerous picnic areas equipped with tables, benches, and barbeque grills, inviting you to savor a meal amid the tranquility of nature. Surrounded by towering trees and well-kept lawns, these spots provide an ideal backdrop for family gatherings, friendly get-togethers, or a romantic picnic for two.
The park also boasts a children's playground with features like a Balance Beam, Boulder to Climb, Monkey Bars, and Spring Rider. The ground is covered with woodchips for safer play.
Izaak Walton Cabin
The Izaak Walton Cabin serves as the meeting place for the Izaak Walton League, one of the oldest conservation organizations in the United States. This spacious cabin, rebuilt in 1998 after a fire in 1990, can also be rented for special events. For more information on reserving the cabin for your special occasion, you can contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (714) 738-6575.
Adjacent to Hillcrest Park is Lions Field, a sports facility used for various outdoor activities such as football, soccer, rugby, baseball, and softball. While primarily used by youth leagues, the general public can enjoy open play every Sunday from noon to 5 PM.
Access Points and Parking Hillcrest Park is conveniently accessible from various points, making it easy for visitors to explore its wonders. Here are some entrance and parking options:
- Harbor Boulevard Entrance: Located on the western side, this entrance leads you to the western trails and picnic spots. You can find parking along Harbor Boulevard and in nearby lots.
- Hillcrest Street Entrance: Found at the park's northern edge, this entrance provides access to the central areas, including the iconic staircase system. Ample street parking is available nearby, making it a convenient starting point for your adventure.
- Valley View Drive Entrance: Situated to the east, this entrance offers access to the eastern portions of the park, including playgrounds and open spaces. Designated parking areas are available here.
- Beverly Place Entrance: Located to the south, this entrance connects you to the southern parts of the park. Street parking is available nearby.