When looking for the perfect spot to photograph a couple’s engagement in Southern California, a few places came to mind. Maybe a sunset at the beach with bright the beautiful bright orange sky. Or maybe they would enjoy an in home photoshoot to represent one of the places most dear to them. When finally, on the phone with the bride to be she expressed her desire to find a place with a woods-y theme.
My first thought, “we’re in Orange County”. I asked if she’d like to take a drive up to Lake Arrowhead about an hour and a half away but that was where he first proposed and much to far away. So I began my google search and stumbled upon a small grove of redwood trees nestled into a park not too far away in Yorba Linda. The place is called Carbon Canyon Regional Park and it stretches 124 acres with a multitude of activities that say playground to both children and photographers alike. There stands a 4 acre lake, playground, tennis and volleyball courts, picnic tables, and tons of trails for biking and walking.
The redwood grove is a short walk from the entrance of the park, but I suggest parking in the furthest parking lot to shorten the walk. According to Hikespeak.com , in order to “get to the trailhead: From Route 57, take exit 10 onto Lambert Road. Drive east for two miles until Lambert Road becomes Carbon Canyon Road. Proceed 0.6 miles and turn right into the main entrance for Carbon Canyon Regional Park. Inside the park, turn left when you come to an intersection and drive half a mile east to the last parking lot at the end of the road (which runs parallel to Carbon Canyon Road). The trail begins from the southeast corner of the lot.”
The groves are much shorter than those seen in Northern California towering at upwards of 250 feet. These trees are arguably less than half of that but remain a beautiful substitute to their northern brethren. The park was founded in 1975 and that was the same year that the trees were planted. Redwoods are native to a much more lush climate so with the droughts of recent years, the park rangers have had to work to make sure that the trees survive. You do have to pay a small parking fee in order to park but its no more than $5 and you are doing your part to help maintain the space for future photoshoots. A small price to pay in comparison to many places that require permits for photography.
If you are taking a couple to photograph, be sure to arrive early to check out the best pocket of trees. Sunlight will most likely be best later in the day for golden hour but the shade from the trees gives a gorgeous moodiness to your pictures. The place is regularly populated with joggers and dog walkers but most are respectful of photographers. We went for a cozy theme so my models wore sweaters and we brought along a blanket to finish the look.
Hope this post inspired you to visit the redwood grove! Where did you get your engagement photos taken?
Comment any other secret gems in the area!