The Legend Of Black Star Canyon

One of many spooky-looking trees along Black Star Canyon

Black Star Canyon is primarily known for two things. For many Orange County residents, Black Star Canyon is the home to a picturesque hiking trail. For others, Black Star Canyon is one of the most haunted spots in Orange County. It seems like countless generations of Orange County residents are more affected by its dubious distinction as a source of paranormal activity than its scenic beauty.

Despite its reputation, however, Black Star Canyon presents a golden opportunity to take your kids on a family adventure where they can learn about the real history of Orange County, get an awesome workout and create everlasting memories.

A Prime Location & Interesting Past

Nestled deep in the Santa Ana Mountains, Black Star Canyon is located in Silverado Canyon — an unincorporated area of eastern Orange County that’s near the Cleveland National Forest. It was once the home to Native Americans, grizzly bears and even a coal mine that would later be abandoned. Local historians claim Black Star Canyon was also the site of an Indian massacre in 1831, but some question the validity of their claims. Nevertheless, the tales of tragedy only add to Black Star Canyon’s mystic.

Ghost Riders

Of course, if you decide to take your family on a hike to Black Star Canyon, you’ll probably encounter more mountain bikers than ghosts. The three-mile dirt path that leads to Black Star Canyon is open to the public, but it passes through private property. Believe it or not, there are people who live up there. Along the three-mile trail, you’ll come across old vehicles in the nearby ravines, eerie-looking oak trees and even colorful peacocks.

The Ultimate Adventure

Once the road ends, the real journey begins. To reach the spectacular waterfall at the end, you and your family will have to get through some tough terrain. You’ll encounter a stream, some boulders and plenty of poison oak. This part of the adventure is challenging for even the most experienced hikers. Even though hiking is one of the most popular family friendly activities in Orange County, not all trails are recommended for small children or those with a compromised immune system.


Before You Go


If you decide to go through the entire journey with your family, there are some things you need to know. It may take you anywhere from six to eight hours to complete, although some can do it in four hours. In addition to your first-aid kit, hiking boots and trail mix, make sure you take plenty of sunscreen, water and a light jacket. Weather conditions in the canyon can be unpredictable. Be advised that your mobile phone may not have service in that area.


Don’t forget to bring a camera. Black Star Canyon is a world away from Orange County. You and your kids will need to show proof that you hiked through Black Star Canyon and lived to tell about it. 

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