Live Oak and The Monastery
Live Oak Trail and the Monastery
As many hikes do, this one started early. After a short drive to Trabuco Canyon I met my Sherpa, Harish, and the rest of my hiking group at the end of a residential street and what would be our trailhead. The Live Oak Trail can be accessed at multiple points including O’Neill Regional Park. Meadow Ridge Drive was a well-chosen starting point as it avoided parking fees of O’Neill park. The Live Oak Trail can be accomplished with multiple routes and todays route was chosen by Harish, who has hiked this trail many times and narrowed it down to the distance we required.
The hike would take us through Live Oak, saving the monastery for last, we made a quick right up to the ridge. We then descended along the Coyote Canyon Trail and followed it along until it met with Vista Trail. This section is the most difficult phase of the route as it ascends to the top of the hill, providing a beautiful panoramic vista. We then made a short descent and used the same Live Oak Trail we hiked early but in the opposite direction until it linked up with Monastery Road.
As we made our way toward the monastery we were treated with a flyby as a biplane buzzed overhead. Another left turn and a short walk, we were now on the monastery compound.
The monastery is open to everyone from any religion with multiple symbols for different religions. Meditation and finding inner peace is the key here.
The hike isn’t difficult by any standard, with one slightly challenging hill up the Vista Trail. The hike is mainly exposed to the sun so I would recommend wearing sunscreen and a hat. Only a small portion of the trail is shaded by oak trails, despite its name. This trail is a treat for anyone who ventures into the hills and couple it with a visit to the monastery and you’ll have a rewarding hike. A monastery in urban southern California is unique enough on its own and to be able to incorporate it with a hike is amazing, no matter where you are.
The route we took, making the exit from the monastery and back to the trailhead on the same Live Oak Trail we started on, is approximately 7 miles. The duration on the hike will depend on how much time you spend at the monastery. The trail can be accomplished through multiple trails and the distance can be reduced or increased to fit your desire.
Take a hike!
Get off your electronic device and get on the trail!