Judge David O. Carter of the U.S. Central District Court of California and the group went walking near the riverbed, within sight of the Honda Center and the 57 Freeway in Anaheim, where densely populated homeless encampments lined a flood-control channel.
The tour of the area came on the day after a court hearing in which Carter insisted that the homeless advocates and authorities get together to come up with a solution.
"We're going to solve it right here," Carter said. "I'm tired of the paperwork, 'We can't get it done,' nonsense."
The advocates had filed a lawsuit seeking protection for the homeless after receiving word last month that officials were going to start ticketing or arresting people who refused to abandon the makeshift encampment.
The officials and the activists reached an agreement to provide vouchers for local motel rooms and other temporary housing. About 700 to 800 beds are expected to be made available.
"We pledge up to 400 motel rooms, immediately," County Supervisor Andrew Do told the court, adding that the county would also add beds and could put up a tent on a county-owned parking lot if space was needed.
The judge has called on county officials, veterans, women's advocates and others to help those living along a 2-mile section of the Santa Ana River Trail. The path was formerly popular with joggers and bicyclists.
The initial relocation process of the homeless is set to begin in a week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.