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Top of the World Loop


From the Top of the World and back again.

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1,025' 312 m


203' 62 m


896' 273 m


901' 275 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

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.


Shared By:

John McKinney

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 21 votes


  4.1 from 21 votes
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4,798 Views Last Month
115,659 Since Aug 3, 2017



Top of the World Sunset
Aug 3, 2017 near Laguna…, CA
hiking down from the top of the world (you have to go a little off course for this but worth it)
Sep 2, 2019 near Aliso V…, CA
Coyote Run in Aliso Woods.  Wood Creek is on the left.
May 23, 2015 near Aliso V…, CA
Cool rest stop.
Mar 28, 2016 near Aliso V…, CA
Wood Canyon Trail
May 22, 2015 near Aliso V…, CA
View to the west from the top of Mathis Canyon along West Ridge Trail.
May 22, 2015 near Aliso V…, CA


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 13 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In


Jul 12, 2020
Linda Weaver
Jul 12, 2020
MC Asuncion
Great Peaceful Hike. Pan Ocean View. **Carolynn Wood View Knoll-West Ridge-Car Wreck-Oak Grove-Mathis Canyon-Wood Canyon Trail-Cholla-West Ridge.** — 3h 56m
Jan 18, 2020
Maryah Barna
Beautiful sunrise! — 6h 56m
Jan 5, 2020
Nat Ieamwongnukul
9h 14m
Nov 17, 2019
John Ibrahim
6.5mi — 2h 50m
Nov 16, 2019
Nicole W
Sep 21, 2019
Shelby Miller
3h 37m
Jul 4, 2019
Tiffany Jump
We started down at Aliso Canyon Park and hiked our way up. We stopped at some of the rock caves for the boys to explore and ate at the Top. 11.5mi — 6h 30m

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