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Top of the World Loop

  4.2 ( 18 ) Favorite


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

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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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
Jun 16, 2019
Allen Morales-Mayorga
4.7mi — 2h 00m
May 27, 2019
Dan Lopes
May 27, 2019
Diego Arreola
May 18, 2019
Praveen R
May 5, 2019
Anne Matkoski Brewer
Apr 27, 2019
Jennifer Kim
West Ridge>Car Wreck>Mathis>Wood Canyon>Rock-It>West Ridge. Car Wreck was pretty rough for my parents, but they loved seeing the car! 6.5mi — 2h 52m
Mar 25, 2019
Michael Huynh

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Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 18 votes


  4.2 from 18 votes
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