Top 9 Hiking And Trekking Spots In Laguna Beach, California

hiking in laguna beach
| 4 min read

Wilderness holds answers to questions that man has not learned to ask. Head out to nature to rejuvenate your senses. That’s what most residents in Southern California do as the beautiful Laguna Beach has plenty of hiking and trekking trails to discover. Moreover, Laguna Beach has trails that are suitable for all experience levels, and every trail has something spectacular to offer. From verdant greens and awe-inspiring views to vertical climbs, all trails give hikers and trekkers a good workout that’s worth the climb. So read on to find out more about the top hiking and trekking spots in Laguna Beach, California.

1. El Moro Canyon Trail

Hiking El Moro Canyon Trail
Source: Photo by user jtriefen used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A walk in nature walks the soul back home, and that holds true for El Moro Canyon Trail, a 3.9-mile (6.3-kilometer) loop trail with moderate difficulty and an elevation gain of 479 feet (146 meters). The hike is part of the Crystal Cove State Park trails and offers panoramic ocean views, lovely wildflowers that bloom in abundance during spring, grasslands, and river. Located near Laguna Beach, this trail leads to other trails that can either extend or shorten your trekking session. The lack of shady trees means a cap and sunscreen are recommended before starting the adventure. No dogs are allowed, but the trail is perfect for horseback riding, mountain biking, bird-watching, and nature walking.

El Moro Canyon Trail

Address: 8471 N Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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2. Dartmoor Trail Lookout

Jan 11, 2020. HikingOC first 2020 sunset, full moon at Laguna Coast Wilderness (the Wolf Moon was rising an hour after sunset)

Posted by Lily NP Nguyen on Monday, 13 January 2020

It feels good to be lost in the right direction, especially when the direction leads to Dartmoor Trail Lookout. Fabulous views overlooking the Pacific Ocean, free streetside parking, and well-maintained trails are some of its highlights. The 2.75-mile (4.43-kilometer) loop trail is easy to climb and promises amazing sunrise and sunset views. Expect wildlife such as goats grazing along the plains, little critters coming out to say hello, grasslands, wildflowers, and rocky paths at some parts of the trail.

Dartmoor Trail Lookout

Address: Laguna Beach, CA

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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3. Top of the World

San Gabriel Mountains from Top of the World, Laguna Beach, CA
Source: Photo by user Mark Roland used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Be on top of the world at this popular trail located near Laguna Beach. This 2.4-mile (3.9-kilometer) out-and-back route is rated difficult with an elevation gain of 862 feet (263 meters), making for an energetic trail for novice and even experienced hikers. As part of Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, this is likely one of the most hiked and trekked trails in Laguna Beach thanks to its stunning views of the ocean and surrounding natural landscapes. Be prepared for crowds on any day and enjoy making new friends along the way. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.

Top of the World

Address: W Ridge, Laguna Beach, CA

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

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4. Laguna Beach Cliff Hike

LagunaBeachCA photo D Ramey Logan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Don Ramey Logan used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better, and such understanding begins at Laguna Beach Cliff Hike with nature’s bounty all around. This trail is the perfect short hike for beginners or busy folks looking for a quick workout. It’s only 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) in distance with an elevation gain of about 900 feet (274 meters), and hikers can complete the trail in about 45 minutes. This trek brings you to a small canyon, and there are beautiful wildflowers in abundance to greet you. Amazing views and pretty landscapes make this trail popular and quite crowded on weekends.

Laguna Beach Cliff Hike

Address: 22141 Paseo Del Sur, Laguna Beach, CA

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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5. Alta Laguna Park

Laguna Beach
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Infratec used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Bring the kids to enjoy the wonders of Alta Laguna Park, which boasts gorgeous views of the ocean and well-maintained amenities such as a playground, tennis courts, baseball field, half basketball court, and open spaces for running, games, and picnicking, Located at the end of Alta Laguna Boulevard, the lovely hilltop park also features picnic tables, walking trails, and more. Best of all, the park provides access to Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park trails and the popular Top of the World lookout point. For visitors’ convenience, the park has parking lots, streetside parking, and restrooms.

Alta Laguna Park

Address: 3299 Alta Laguna Blvd, Laguna Beach, CA

Opening hours: 5am - 1am (daily)

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6. Big Bend Loop

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CharleBernardo used under CC0

Reconnect with nature at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, a 7,000-acre (2,832.8-hectare) wilderness retreat located in San Joaquin Hills surrounding Laguna Beach. What makes this park superb are the coastal canyons, ridgeline views, scenic trails, and the only natural lakes in Orange County. Big Bend Loop at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a 3.9-mile (6.3-kilometer) loop trail that offers moderate to tough levels of difficulty, with an elevation gain of 974 feet (297 meters). Discover beautiful wildflowers and panoramic views along the way, which starts out as a steep climb but eases up at the top. Take note of the 3 USD parking fee at this park.

Big Bend Loop

Address: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, 18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

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7. Water Tank Trail

Source: Photo by user OCParks_CA used under CC BY 2.0

Not for the fainthearted, Water Tank Trail is one the most difficult trails with steep grades in Laguna Beach. The 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) loop trail has a 921-foot (281-meter) elevation gain and can be moderately difficult for even seasoned hikers. Perfect for trekking, trail running, hiking, and nature explorations, this trail features stunning views of the Laguna coastline and beautiful landscapes all around. Best of all, the path is well-marked, so hikers won’t get lost during the adventure. In addition, the way is quite steep in the beginning but extends to a lovely trek in the end.

Water Tank Trail

Address: Water Tank Rd, CA

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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8. Car Wreck Trail

Aliso Canyon
Source: Photo by user tinyfroglet used under CC BY 2.0

Look out for the car wreck on this aptly named trail known as Car Wreck Trail. The 7.5-mile (12-kilometer) loop trail is rated as moderately difficult, with an 839-foot (256-meter) elevation gain, making it a strenuous climb for novice hikers. Trekkers have gushed about the incredible wildlife dotting the trail, including wildflowers and trees. To see the car wreck, hikers have to navigate a steeper path off to the right over sections of rock. Caution is required when hiking steeper parts. Otherwise, this trail is ideal for walking, nature trips, and bird-watching and is accessible all year round.

Car Wreck Trail

Address: Aliso Canyon, 28373 Alicia Pkwy, Aliso Viejo, CA

Opening hours: 7am - 9pm (daily)

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9. James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve

Posted by Henry Doktorski III on Sunday, 23 July 2017

Located on Laguna Canyon Road inside Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve is a rugged yet pleasant greenbelt and beach in a huge coastal nature park. The preserve offers a scenic trail known as Ridgetop, Edison, and Lake Loop that covers 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) and is an easy hike taking about an hour to complete. Perfect for a moderate trail run and a good workout with plenty of rolling hills to test your stamina, the trail offers panoramic views and abundant greenery. Best of all, hikers love the California native wildflowers that are out in full bloom during spring. Take note that dogs and mountain biking are not allowed, keeping the place safe for trekkers and hikers.

James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve

Address: 350 Artisan Dr, Laguna Beach, CA

Website: James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sun)

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Enjoy the wilderness in Laguna Beach

With all the paths you can take in the world, make sure that some of them are dirt and originate from the beautiful Laguna Beach, California. Renowned as the destination with some of the best trails on the planet, the place is indeed great for trekking and hiking.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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