Today, we head to California once again to Laguna Niguel. Laguna Niguel is a place known for its many parks and wide open spaces. But what I love about the place is that it is full of hidden trails like the Aliso Summit Trail, which rests above Laguna Beach.
Whenever I get the chance to visit California, the Aliso Summit Trail is one of the places I enjoy visiting. It’s a quick hike with great views of the coast and if you get lucky, you might even catch some whales gliding through the ocean during their annual migration.
ALISO SUMMIT TRAIL OVERVIEW
The Aliso Summit Trail is located along the southern ridge of Aliso and Woods Canyons Regional Park. It is a short and sweet trail that is good for all skill levels.
Start at Seaview Park and head to the west end, which is closest to the guard shack of the gated community. You’ll notice some drinking fountains and information signs about the park. The trail then follows the ridgeline of homes and condos on the left side and Aliso Canyon on the right.
Along the trail, you’ll find lots of plants and wildflowers, which have been maintained in their natural condition. You can even learn a thing or two since many of the plants have been identified and have markers on them.
After about 0.3 miles, you’ll reach a nice little picnic table where you can rest that has a great view of the ocean. From the picnic table, go to the left towards Aliso Peak.
Eventually, the trail will open out to a street that’s lined with beautiful mansions. Follow the marker on the post to continue on the trail. After awhile, you’ll reach a saddle junction – stay right and head up to the peak.
The peak gives you wonderful views of the Laguna Coastline, along with a bench that you can sit on and watch the sunset.
NOTES ON ALISO SUMMIT
- There are water fountains and dog bowls at the trailhead, so fill up your containers before the hike.
- There are some picnic tables on the first part of the trail that offer great views. It’s a nice place to relax and have a snack or a weekend picnic.
- Aliso Summit is also a great place to go whale watching during the annual migration, which falls between January and April.
- There are some steep drop-offs on the trail so keep your eyes open and be cautious. If you’re with toddlers or kids, make sure bringing the baby carrier for hiking.
- There are no restrooms so go beforehand.
HOW TO GET THERE
Start at Laguna Niguel and head on to the I-5. From there, take the Alicia Parkway exit and head southeast for 4.7 miles. Turn right on Highlands and head 0.6 miles to the second of the two intersections with Ridgeview Drive. You can park along the street there.
If you’re coming from the Pacific Coast Highway, head on to the Crown Valley Boulevard for about 2.9 miles. Turn left on Alicia Parkway and head left to Pacific Island Drive and turn right to Highlands. You’ll find the trailhead on your left after a mile, at the first intersection between Highlands and Ridgeview.
Aliso and Woods Canyons Regional Park
|28737 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677|
The park is 4,500 acres of coastal canyons, ridges, and wildflower meadows, willed with more than 30 miles of trails. One of the most popular places to visit in the park is the Dripping Cave. The park is open from 7 AM to sunset, with a parking fee of $3 per vehicle. Read more about it on the Laguna Canyon Foundation website.
Aliso Beach County Park
|31131 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92652|
Aliso Beach is a great place to go for swimming, skim boarding, surfing, skin diving, and paddle boarding. It’s a nice way to cool down and enjoy after your Aliso Summit Hike. The beach is open from 6 AM to 10 PM daily. You can learn more about Aliso Beach on the OC Parks website.
Without a doubt, you won’t find yourself bored when you are in California. There are tons of things to do and places to see. But if you do get the chance to go there, try to make some time to visit Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park and take the Aliso Summit Trail hike. After your hike on, head down to the Aliso Beach County Park for a nice dip and to enjoy the rest of the day.
When you’re done, remember to come back here and let me know how your trip went! Remember to stay safe and have a great adventure!