Rosecrans Trail and West Coyote Hills Tree Park

Rosecrans Trail on the map includes the decomposed-granite sidewalk that goes for miles along side Rosecrans. But the interesting part of the trail is just the part that is contained within Tree Park. It’s not very long but has the distinction of being one of the steepest trails. The park has a very well maintained east end (upper end) shown above. This is very visible as you drive by it on Parks Road, north of Rosecrans.  And there’s room for dozens of cars on the park on the side of the road. (It is 2 blocks north of Rosecrans on Parks Road. (Parks Road is 1/2 mile west of Euclid.) The sign you can see from the road is simply “Tree Park.” But its official name is “West Coyote Hills Tree Park”. As described in detail later, there are a number of trails that are available from this reference point. And because of the park benches, it is an excellent point for a group to gather before taking one of the several trails from here.

This is walking down (south west) and ahead is where the trail joins Coyote Hills Drive for a few hundred feet.

Loop up and Down the park (1/2 mile)
West Coyote Hills Tree Park (or simply Tree Park) is a show piece in grooming and is very visible to those that drive south on Parks Rd. The park is large on the map but mostly unseen from Parks Road because it slopes down away from the road. It might be worth pointing out a bit of philosophy on parks. Like their bigger counterparts, the golf course, they are usually in low parts of the landscape; flood basins where you can’t put a building. The upper part could have been a few homes but we lucked out in that it became the visible part of Tree Park. The rest of the park slopes down to a basin where at the bottom are a number of drains to underground pipes to who knows where.  On your way down note how well kept the grounds are. In particular the steep sides. Rosecrans Trail and the Tree Park that surrounds it, extends west to Coyote Hills Drive. The entire settling basin is dry (except during a storm) and the entire area is available to explore.

One of the two trails that goes down is wide and steep at first.
The other one –this one– is narrow and steep at the end.

There’s actually two Rosecrans Trails. A wide one which is steep only at first. (The foreground of the photo at the top.) The other one, a narrow one, you to have climb up to to start on (more to the south). It is gradual at first and then very steep later on. The picture at the left shows that you have be careful even walking. At the bottom, if you walk north you will encounter the bottom of the wide one. You can go back up that way for a loop of 1/2 mile.

Out and Back to Rosecrans (.8 mi)
The Rosecrans Trail at the bottom continues south as a side walk along Coyote Hills Dr. about 100 yards. It then passes between houses to the a wide sidewalk along Rosecrans Ave. But its a sidewalk path that leads to nothing really as a goal. (It is this wide sidewalk along Rosecrans Ave. that gives its name to the trail through Tree Park.) So stop right there before going on the noisy Rosecrans sidewalk. It’s .8 of a mile total . . . OK, it isn’t much of a out and back, but do enjoy the excellent view south and east of Buena Park cityscape; which is best seen as a morning walk.

(Click on map for higher resolution version.) This loop is entirely on the east side of Parks. It has you go through Grissom park which is noted for it’s vast green lawn.

East Side of Tree Park Loop (1 mile)
The above out and back was entirely west of Tree Park. On the east side of Parks Rd. there’s a loop of about one mile starting from the upper part of Tree Park. Crossing Parks Rd. at the crosswalk the trail is no longer called Rosecrans Trail. It is Parks Road Trail. It goes about 800 ft. north and east where it curves south to Camino Rey Street. You can see across the street the north end of Grissom Park. A paved side of a water channel (and somewhat uncomfortable because of its tilt) is the path that goes the length of the Grissom Park to Rosecrans.  (The trail crosses Rosecrans and goes all the way to Bastanchury. That’s covered in the webpage about the astronaut parks.)
But this 1 mile loop doesn’t cross Rosecrans. Instead, walk west on the sidewalk of Rosecrans Blvd a block or two to the sidewalk of Parks Rd. and then walk north back to where you parked.

This loop is on both sides of Parks Road.

A Loop that Goes Around Tree Park (1.6 miles) There is a larger loop of 1.6 miles that is more on dirt than sidewalk.  Like the loop described above, you start at Tree Park and cross Parks Rd. at the crosswalk and then go about 800 ft. north and east where it curves to the right to Camino Rey Street. You can see the north end of Grissom Park Trail from there. Take the tilted path along side the water channel through Grissom Park to Rosecrans. You walk west on Rosecrans but this time instead of walking back at Parks, continue on Rosecrans until you find on your right a curving sidewalk between the houses. That will put you on Coyote Hills Drive which you will take another block or so (north east) to a trail that leads to the bottom side (the bigger end of Tree Park). All dirt trails there lead up hill to where you left your car.

Tree Park is not only convenient with tons of parking but because of the benches and views, can be gathering place to begin or end four different trails.

Tree Park as a Major Starting Point Tree Park is the starting point for Rosecrans Trail described above, but nearby are the starting points for three other trails. If you are going to walk in a group this park has the best parking and it has benches for early arrivals to wait on. Here are those trails:
1. Rosecrans Trail itself  that goes down Tree Park.
2. The loops described above (the east side that goes through Grissom Park)
3. Nora Kuttner Trail is a thousand feet north
4. Castlewood Trail is an additional 1,500 feet west of the Nora Kuttner

Trail going north away from Rosecrans Trail.

Park Mystery
Most park mysteries have to do with some abandoned object like a pipe or a strange shape to the property. The mystery here has to do with admiring the work of the landscaping team. The hills associated with this park are almost like cliffs. Even the death defying bike trail goes down at an angle on the cliff face. So how in the heck do the landscaping guys do such an amazing job of clearing the weeks on the face of that almost-cliff?

Click on these pictures to see them as full screen versions.

Suggestions for Parks Department

Trees have grown up to entirely block the view of the three benches that were bolted to concrete slabs 10 years earlier. The solution is to cut down at least one tree; the one in front of the south most bench.  It is good to remember that trees are not sacred, but views are.