Oso Creek rises north of the Santa Ana Mountains and flows south through Mission Viejo before eventually emptying in the Pacific Ocean. It serves as a water reclamation source for landscape irrigation in the city, and it is the backbone of the Oso Creek Trail. Connecting the city's parks, commercial areas, homes and municipal services, the trail is also a beautiful, peaceful place to walk among wildflowers and along the murmuring creek. The walk is paved with asphalt and concrete along with pretty mosaic stepping stones, and it's surrounded by sedge grasses, expanses of lawn, shady oak groves and cactus. Street lamps provide lighting for the evening strollers.
Besides being a great walking trail, this oasis in the midst of the city also features a butterfly garden, many pieces of public art including a Mosaic Wave Wall and sculptures of animals big enough to sit on. A hedged Plant Maze beckons with its fun walking puzzle and furtastic flowers. A small plaza with a Peace Obelisk provides an opportunity to sit and contemplate, surrounded by nature.
Along the creek, you and your fur-baby will be treated to sightings of a wide variety of birds including hummingbirds, herons, egrets and ducks. Turtles can be seen basking on the creek's shoreline or swimming, necks craned skyward, toward the opposite shore of the creek.
Mostly flat and shaded, there are a few small hills, but with plenty of benches, Adirondack chairs and picnic tables strewn along the path you will have lots of opportunity to rest before carrying on. A cool, shaded tunnel passes below a highway. Two footbridges span the creek and offer views north and south, and 4 parking areas at the ends and in between mean you can begin and end your walk in various places based on your available time and fitness. At the northern end of the trail is the Open Space Trail, a small loop that provides a quick burst of exercise during a lunch break or after a busy day.
Whether you and Fido live in the Mission Viejo area or are visiting, this short but pawrrific trail is a must-do!