Aliso Creek TrailThis sprawling 4,500 acres wilderness park is located in Aliso Viejo and offers many hiking and biking trails.

The park is not just a haven for outdoor enthusiasts but also serves as a gateway to the breathtaking beauty of Laguna Beach, a seaside resort city known for its stunning beaches, artist community, and vibrant art festivals.

Whether you're seeking a leisurely stroll or an adventurous hike, this area promises a delightful escape into nature.

The parking lot and trailheads are on Awma Road via Alicia Parkway. The parking fee is only $3, but there is no attendant. Make sure to get a ticket from the machine and display it on your dash. Parking closes at sunset, so plan your visit accordingly. This practical and affordable parking option makes accessing the trails convenient, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty without worrying about the logistics.

Book an Orange County Adventure here.

Aliso And Wood Canyons Wilderness 1 After you park, head south to a large sign showing several trailheads and pick your trail. Also, remember to grab a trail map at the edge of the parking lot. This initial step is crucial for a successful hiking experience, as it ensures you choose a trail that matches your interest and fitness level. The map serves as your guide through the wilderness, helping you navigate the diverse landscapes this park offers.

Tip: If you are planning to do a lot of hiking in OC Parks administered areas, consider getting an annual pass from the parking dispenser. This cost-effective option is perfect for frequent visitors, providing unlimited access to the park's extensive trail network and outdoor adventures throughout the year.

So many trails but so little time. Plan on coming back several times to explore all the trails.Aliso Creek Trail Each visit offers a new adventure and the opportunity to discover something new, from the serene beauty of the Aliso Creek trail to the challenging terrains of Wood Canyon Trail.

On our first visit, we took the Aliso Creek trail because it is an easy trail with a slight decline when going toward the ocean. But remember, this means a slight incline on the way back. This easy-to-navigate trail is perfect for families and casual hikers, offering stunning views and a peaceful experience alongside the running creek.

The trail is a mostly paved road but only accessible to official vehicles. As you descend, the creek is on your left, providing a soothing soundtrack to your hike with its gentle cascades. However, the lack of shade highlights the importance of being prepared with plenty of water, especially during warmer days, to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable journey.

Tip: The trails are heavily used by bikers. Keep an eye out for speeding bikes, especially on the dirt portions of the trails, to ensure a safe experience for everyone. This friendly reminder encourages hikers to stay alert and share the path courteously with bikers, enhancing the outdoor adventure for all users.

Aliso And Wood Canyons Wilderness 3The first branch you encounter – to the left - is Aliso Canyon East, which leads back to the parking lot or to Laguna Niguel Regional Park.

A second branch – to the right – takes you into Wood Canyon Trail, extending into the Laguna Beach hills and connecting to other significant hikes like Oak Grove, Car Wreck, and Top of the World.

This diversity in trail options caters to every level of hiker, from beginners to the more experienced, providing varied scenery and challenges.

We did not take any detours during this first hike. We continued next to the creek, admiring the brush, wildflowers, reeds, and bird songs. This immersive experience in nature was rejuvenating, allowing us to connect with the environment and observe the unique flora and fauna along the way. After an hour of hiking, we turned back, carrying with us the serene memories of the trail.

As you walk on the main trail, keep an eye out for the hills and rock formations on the right. The sloping rocks leading towards some caves offer an adventurous detour for those interested in exploring further. This natural attraction provides a unique opportunity to engage more directly with the landscape, adding an element of discovery to your hike.

An alternative to turning back is to continue along the creek towards Aliso Beach. This extension would add another hour of hiking downhill, and the return journey would take more than 2 hours due to the incline.

For those not up for the hike back, an Uber ride offers a convenient way to return to your starting point, making this a flexible option for exploring further without the worry of a strenuous return trip.

If you decide to take the Wood Canyon trail, you'll enjoy the added benefit of shade, but be prepared for a more challenging hike (moderate difficulty). This 7-mile out-and-back hike parallels Wood Creek, offering a forest setting that contrasts beautifully with the coastal views. It provides a refreshing change of scenery and a rewarding experience for those seeking a bit more adventure.

Aliso Creek at Aliso BeachExploring this area offers many trails and loops to choose from, each promising its unique set of sights and experiences.

The map is your key to uncovering these paths, inviting you to return and explore all this rich natural landscape offers.

At the end of your adventure, consider descending to Aliso Beach for a relaxing picnic or enjoying lunch at the Lost Pier Café—right on the sand. The café's cheeseburgers, cooked to order, offer a delicious conclusion to an active day. The outdoor seating provides the perfect backdrop to reflect on your journey and soak in the beauty of the surroundings one last time.

28373 Alicia Pkwy
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656