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|Borrego Trail Whiting Ranch|
Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park has gained a bit of notoriety lately due to the high number of Mountain Lion sightings in the area. It’s been two weeks since someone last spotted a mountain lion in the park. I know this because the information was posted on a signpost at the Borrego trail-head. Despite all of the hoopla in the press, mountain lions almost never attack humans. To my knowledge, there have only been 20 confirmed deaths in North America by mountain lions since people began keeping records in 1890. If my math is correct, your odds of being killed in a mountain lion attack are approximately 1 in 160 million. By contrast, there were 10 people last year in the US who were killed in “Frisbee related deaths.” Yes, more people have been killed by a Frisbee in the past two years than killed by a mountain lion the past 100. But I digress.
The Borrego Trail starts at a Ralph’s grocery store parking lot in Foothill Ranch California just off Portolla Parkway. You have to pay the 3$ fee at the automated pay station and put the parking pass in your window. Today was a sunny 70 degree Sunday, so there were a ton of hikers and mountain bikers in the parking lot. The Borrego Trail is mostly shaded and flat. Mountain bikers use it as a launching point for several other trails in the area, but biking is restricted on the Borrego Trail to uphill riding only, so you won’t have anyone flying past you on the way down. The Borrego trail is an easy trail with almost no elevation gain, so it’s suitable for pretty much everyone. There is a little creek that runs parallel with the creek, so you’ll see and hear a ton of little animals scurrying around. We saw a lot families toting little kids along the Borrego trail. You hike through the shaded section trail for about a mile and half before you come to the intersection for the steep Mustard Road trail that leads to the top of the bluffs. There is a trail map and a bench at the intersection in case you want to take a little break. We decided not to hike up the hill because of the high number of mountain bikers in the park today. From this point, we continued forward on the easier trail to the Red Rock Canyon Trailhead. We passed several other trails that lead uphill in other directions. Just follow the signs for Red Rock.
The Red Rock Trail is approximately half a mile long. It has a very slight elevation gain, but little shade, so you will be exposed to the sun. The canyon narrows slightly and the trail becomes a bit more rough and washed out. The final 200 yards of the trail dead-ends at Red Rock Canyon. You can scramble up the gap and take a few photos. There are several signs warning you not to go any further because you could damage the fragile ecosystem. From this point, you just turn around and go back the way you came, or you can try your mettle on the steep side trails that lead to the top of the canyon. Look out for mountain bikers flying down these side trails.