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.