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blue Top of the World Loop

  4.1 ( 16 )

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7.1 mile 11.4 kilometer loop


Ascent: 896' 273 m
Descent: -901' -275 m
High: 1,025' 312 m
Low: 203' 62 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 30% (16°)


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Trail shared by John McKinney

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From the Top of the World and back again.

John McKinney

Features Birding · Views · Wildlife

Dogs are only allowed on SOME trails in the park.

Trails may close for three days after rain.


A nice loop hike from the Top of the World down into the main part of the park and back. Remember, heading down from the Top of the World right from the start means you have to climb back up to it at the end!

Need to Know

The park is open from 7 am to sunset (the parking lot closes at sunset).
Parking fees are $3 per vehicle daily. Other rates or discounts may apply; contact the park for more information.


This 7.1-mile loop hike starts at the parking area at the Top of the World. Just before starting the main hike, from the parking lot take a left and head up to the Carolynn Wood View Knoll for some panoramic views! The knoll is actually the site of a buried 3-million-gallon water reservoir!

Head back down the knoll, take a right and traverse the edge of the knoll heading north, staying right until you reconnect with West Ridge Trail. Take a left onto West Ridge Trail to head north. At about 0.9 miles, turn right onto Mathis Canyon Trail; this trail descends, somewhat steeply, into the canyon.

At the junction with Wood Canyon Trail, take a left to head north; follow this north to the northernmost area of the park. Take a left onto Cholla Trail at about 4.4 miles and ascend the rather steep trail to the ridge. Take a left onto West Ridge Trail and follow it all the way back to the trailhead.

Most of these trails are multi-use, therefore be sure to know the right-of-way rules and be aware of other users.

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

The park is designated as a wildlife sanctuary; there are many rare and endangered plants and animals in the park.

History & Background

Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park was originally part of the Juaneno or Acajchemem tribal land. Ownership then transferred between several individuals and companies before falling to Orange County Parks.


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Mar 25, 2019
Michael Huynh
Mar 10, 2019
Kathy Hwang
6mi — 5h 00m
Feb 18, 2019
Nick Swanson
Jan 27, 2019
Katya Bernal
Jan 27, 2019
Nikki Southern
Dec 30, 2018
Teresa White
~ 12:30 to 3 7.1mi
Dec 15, 2018
Geovanni Rosado
Dec 2, 2018
Chris Morgan

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Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 16 votes


  4.1 from 16 votes
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in California


3,586 Views Last Month
58,943 Since Aug 3, 2017
Intermediate Intermediate

Tyler Ubl
Huntington Beach, CA
Tyler Ubl   Huntington Beach, CA
If you love great views this is the hike for you it has some of the best views in the OC. Adding to that the massive canyons make you feel small and the creek adds a nice water feature Jan 22, 2018

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