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Aliso Canyon Loop

  4.0 ( 6 ) Favorite


3.5 mile 5.7 kilometer loop


Ascent: 814' 248 m
Descent: -815' -248 m
High: 1,739' 530 m
Low: 989' 301 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)


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Trail shared by John McKinney

Hike the through the Aliso Canyon and along its ridge line for a short, but enjoyable experience.

John McKinney

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers


Utilizing the Aliso Interpretative Trail and Aliso Loop Trail, this loop offers hiking through canyons, wildflower meadows, and along scenic ridge lines.


This hike starts out at the trailhead for the Aliso Interpretative Trail, which lies at the upper portion of the Sage Hill Campground. From here, head north following the trail. After crossing Aliso Creek two times you'll come across a juncture with the Aliso Loop Trail 1/4 of a mile from the trailhead. Continue straight ahead on the Aliso Interpretative Trail.

The trail then crosses the creek a few times before leaving the base of the canyon. At this point the trail climbs steadily up the shale hillside before taking you around the edge of a meadow. Continuing along the trail further, to mile 1.5 where there will be a trail junction between the Upper Oso Trail and the Aliso Loop Trail. The Aliso Interpretive Trail ends here and you'll join the Aliso Loop Trail.

Head south along the Aliso Loop Trail from this point. Along this portion you'll have great views of the San Rafael and Santa Ynez Mountains. The trail then makes its way down the hillside to the edge of the Santa Ynez Canyon, at which point there are good views of the Santa Ynez River–the longest free-flowing stretch of river in the Southern California region. The trail then makes its way to the bottom of Aliso Canyon via a series of switchbacks. Shortly after reaching the bottom of the canyon the trail reconnects with the Aliso Interpretative Trail, at which point the Aliso Loop Trail ends. Rejoin the Aliso Interpretative Trail by turning left. Hike a short distance to return to the original trailhead and parking area.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

Flora & Fauna

California poppies, blue-eyed grass, and popcorn flower can be found in the meadow area along the Aliso Interpretative Trail.

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Jun 22, 2019
Kelsi Golinvaux
Super cautious of rattlesnakes the whole time, but such a gorgeous trail! Would definitely do this again. 3.5mi — 2h 00m
Nov 10, 2017
Josh Janecek
Some steep parts. Hard at 1st but gets better. 3.5mi

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  4.0 from 6 votes


  4.0 from 6 votes
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744 Since Jul 20, 2017



Sugar Sumac shrub in spring along the Aliso Loop Trail
Apr 6, 2018 near Goleta, CA


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