A wide variety of trails wind their way through the beaches, canyons, and ridges surrounding Laguna Beach, with difficulties ranging from gentle slopes to strenuous mountain trails. Most hiking trails around town are open to both hiking and mountain biking. To the north you will find Crystal Cove State Park, featuring the Moro Canyon back country trails, and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. To the south of town lies the Aliso and Woods Canyon Wilderness Parks.
Crystal Cove State Park
Along the shore of the Pacific, enjoy a stroll on Crystal Cove’s wide beaches and explore tide pools. For the more adventuresome types, the Moro Canyon back country trail system features 2,400 undeveloped acres of dirt roads and single track trails open to hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian users. Download a full map of the trails from California State Parks here, or visit Crystal Cove State Park online to learn more.
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Start off your visit to the 20,000 acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park with a visit to the award-winning Nix Nature Center. Here you’ll find free maps of the park’s trail system, information about the wilderness and it’s diverse biology, and guided tours and events. Then head off into the wilderness on a network of 40 miles of trails through oak and sycamore woodlands to reach the panoramic vistas of the ridge tops. Keep your eyes open during your hike for deer, weasel, bobcat, hawk, and several endangered species such as California Gnatcatcher and Orange-Throated Whiptail. Download a full map of the trails from OC Parks, or visit the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park online to learn more.
Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
The Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park encompasses nearly 4,000 acres of wilderness land which was once part of the Acajchemem tribal land. The park features over 30 miles of open trails for taking in the mature oak, sycamore, and elderberry woodlands, year round streams, and the many rare and endangered animals and plants which call the park home. Download a full map of the trails from OC Parks, or visit the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park to learn more.
As with any venture into the wilderness, even one this close to town, always go prepared! Protective clothing, sunblock, food, and plenty of drinking water are highly recommended. Be alert and aware of your surroundings, keep your eyes out for wildlife (and keep your distance), and carry a good map (readily available from each park). To rent a mountain bike for your adventure, we recommend the friendly and knowledgable staff at either Laguna Beach Cyclery or La Vida Laguna.
Lead image by David Lofink.