Whiting Ranch is a piece of semi-wilderness set in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. The park contains chaparral, broad meadows, live oak forests, and interesting geological features such as Red Rock Canyon. Certain trails are notorious: the Billy Goat Trail, for example, though short is considered a hiker’s nightmare. Nonetheless dozens to hundreds of hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians use the trails every day (except during and after heavy rains).
Whiting’s wildlife includes coyotes, bobcats, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and even mountain lions. (One mountain biker was eaten and another mauled in an infamous pair of incidents in 2004.) Bird watchers have the chance of spotting rare species such as the Least Bell’s Vireo. Towhees and quail infest the forests and chaparral. Vultures, ravens, and hawks soar over the trails in all seasons. Great Basin Fence Lizards can be seen in abundance. Gopher snakes slither through the grass and the park boasts two different species of rattlesnake — the Southern Pacific and the Red Diamondback.
I do so many of my hikes here that I thought it would be helpful if I provided this map: