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The Great Outdoors: A GUIDE TO ORANGE COUNTY RECREATION

May 23, 1997

Looking for an Orange County park that fits your needs? There's a little something for everyone, whether you're looking for a day hike or a weekend away from home.

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CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS

Crystal Cove State Park, 8471 Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach; (714) 494-3539. Eighteen miles of trails and 3 1/2 miles of coastline. Hours: 6 a.m. to sunset. Parking $5.

Chino Hills State Park, off Carbon Canyon Road near Valencia Avenue, Brea; (909) 780-6222. Enter on the Orange County side by parking at Carbon Canyon Regional Park and walking down a path. Has 60 miles of trails. Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset. Parking at Carbon Canyon Regional Park, $2 (weekdays), $4 (weekends), $5 (holidays).

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COUNTY OF ORANGE REGIONAL PARKS

Hours (unless otherwise noted): 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Costs: Parking $2 (weekdays), $4 (weekends), $5 (holidays).

Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park, Aliso Creek Road and Alicia Parkway, Laguna Niguel; (714) 831-2791. Contains 3,879 acres.

Carbon Canyon Regional Park, 4442 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea; (714) 996-5252. A 124-acre recreational park and a 1.1-mile dirt hiking/nature trail.

Centennial Regional Park, 3000 W. Edinger Avenue at Fairview Street, Santa Ana. Owned jointly by city of Santa Ana and Orange County. Features 10-acre lake for fishing, soccer and softball fields and picnic shelters; (714) 571-4200.

Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park, 33401 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano; (714) 728-0235 from South County area or 831-2174 from North County. Minors (under 18) are prohibited on the trails unless accompanied in a tour. Contains 7,600 acres of wilderness.

Ted Craig Regional Park, 3300 North State College Blvd., Fullerton; (714) 990-0271.

Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange; (714) 633-8072. This 477-acre recreational park has a zoo ($1 per person), picnic tables and barbecues, playgrounds, bicycle rentals ($10 per hour), pony rides ($2.50 per child), miniature train rides ($2 per person) and two lakes with paddle-boat rentals ($7 per hour).

Laguna Niguel Regional Park, 28241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel; (714) 831-2790. 236 acres interspersed with eucalyptus and sycamore trees.

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach; (714) 854-7108 or (714) 832-7478 for reservations. All access to the park's 3,200 acres is by reservation and permits only. There is a 3 1/2-mile guided hike Saturday mornings ($2 per person).

Mile Square Regional Park, 16801 Euclid St., Fountain Valley; (714) 962-5549. Three softball fields, three baseball fields, two lakes for fishing, an archery range, two soccer fields, three playgrounds, and a large hobby area for model planes and cars.

O'Neill Regional Park, 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon; (714) 858-9365. Contains 3,100 acres. Camping areas available.

Peters Canyon Regional Park, Canyon View Avenue near Jamboree Road, Orange; (714) 538-4400. 354 acres of coastal sage scrub, freshwater marsh and grasslands. Eight miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

Ralph B. Clark Regional Park, 8800 Rosecrans Ave., Buena Park; (714) 670-8045. This 105-acre park is the site of two fossil beds.

Santiago Oaks Regional Park, 2145 North Windes Drive, Orange; (714) 538-4400. The park has a nature center and a historic dam built in 1879. Trails for hikers and equestrians. Hours: 7 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Talbert Nature Preserve, corner of Victoria Street and Placentia Avenue, Costa Mesa; (714) 723-4511. Natural wetlands, alluvial woodlands, grasslands and sand dunes.

Upper Newport Bay Regional Park, Corner of University Drive and Irvine Avenue, Newport Beach; (714) 640-1751.

General Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park, 30952 Oso Parkway, Coto de Caza; (714) 459-1687. Five miles of trails for hikers, equestrian and bikers.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, Portola Parkway near Bake Parkway, Trabuco Canyon; (714) 589-4729 or (714) 858-9365. 1,700 acres of canyons, woodlands and rock formations.

William R. Mason Regional Park, 18712 University Drive, Irvine; (714) 854-2491. Picnic areas and barbecues. Nine-acre, non-swimming lake.

Yorba Regional Park, 7600 East La Palma Ave., Anaheim; (714) 970-1460. 175 acres.

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SPECIAL PLACES FOR CAMPING

Ronald Caspers Wilderness Park: 42 campsites, 10 overflow sites, 30 equestrian sites, two group sites. Per night fees: $12 per vehicle, $4 for one extra vehicle, $3 per horse. No reservations for individual sites, group sites by reservation only. (714) 728-3420.

O'Neill Regional Park, 90 campsites along Trabuco Creek; 31 group sites accommodating 15 to 300 people. No reservations for individual sites, group sites by reservation only (except holiday weekends). Per night fees: $12 per vehicle, $4 for one extra vehicle, $3 per horse, $2 per dog. Youth groups $5 per vehicle, $2 per passenger. (714) 858-9365.

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

Blue Jay Campground: 50 campsites. $7 per night, $2 for one extra vehicle. No reservations. Located five miles north of Ortega (74) Highway on North Main Divide Road.

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