Summary: Expensive housing tracts overlooking this open space and bikers humming up and down the main trails dilute the wilderness feel of this popular south Orange County regional park. If you're looking for a family hike that leads to an interesting destination, however, this may be your best pick.
Spring and autumn are the best seasons for this stroll, though if you leave early in the day or in the late afternoon, summer visits may also prove pleasant. Aliso and Wood Creeks are not for splashing: heavy algae growth indicates polluting runoff from adjacent developments.
Erosion by wind and water formed the shallow caves you'll see in Wood Canyon. Stagecoach bandits used massive Dripping Cave as a hideout: you can still see the holes that they bored into the rock and the heavy soot residue from their fires on the topographically ridged ceiling.
Shade and drinking water are scarce. Come prepared.
Trailhead: From Interstate 5: Take the Alicia Parkway exit. Head south. Five miles (about 100 yards past the intersection of Aliso Creek) south brings you to the entrance to the parking area, next to a church. Parking is $2. Be sure to visit the museum which features the skeleton of a ground sloth, named Waldo, discovered during the construction of the Foothill Transportation Corridor. Admission to the Museum is $2 per person or $4 per family. The trail begins just beyond the picnic area. (Lat:33.551343 Lon:-117.72053)
Trail Guides for Dripping Cave, Aliso & Wood Cyns RW:
Afoot & Afield in Orange County
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Easy Day Hikes Orange County
by Randy Vogel (Falcon Publishing Company)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring,
User Groups: Hikers, Bikes,
Ranger Contact: Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, 949-923-831-3409
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joel Sax, who has posted 51 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Nick on 8/14/2012
Was fun! Walked there with my buddy during mid-day. Very nice hike! Other Thoughts: I underestimated how parched we'd become by the time we got to the cave. Thank the Lord we ran into some bikers that were in the cave who had water or else we'd be in a serious dilemma. ALWAYS bring water!
Reviewed by For Lisa on 8/20/2010
Have not done the hike just want to give Lisa this: http://www.ocparks.com/uploadgraphics/lbaliwov8%285%29.pdf
Reviewed by C.E.C. on 8/2/2010
No more Waldo! The museum is gone and so is Waldo. The park ranger didn't know where they took him. Does anybody know?
Reviewed by Brian on 7/10/2009
I was plesantly surprized by this hike. There was a lot of wildlife when my girlfriend and I went to the aliso & wood canyons wilderness park. We have posted pictures at http://abhiking.blogspot.com/ http://abhiking.blogspot.com/2009/06/aliso-wood-canyon-wilderness.html
Reviewed by Carrie M. on 2/2/2009
This is a great trail for all hikers. Many portions of the hike are flat and easy, making it ideal for family hikes, but there are also hills that provide challenges for hikers looking for a workout. And there is great scenery no matter which portion of the trail you choose! However, I will point out that the fee for parking is now $3 per car, and you need exact change, either in $1 bills or quarters.
Reviewed by Lisa on 2/25/2007
Does anyone know of any trails leading from the park down to the PCH? Thanks.
Reviewed by Viewer on 1/8/2007
Yes, TC, it's on Awma road, which is off of Alicia just south of Aliso Creek as the directions say. Like another reviewer mentioned, I, too, like to park at Canyon View park on Canyon Vistas off of Pacific Park Dr., and come in through the north end of Wood Canyon. Distance is about the same, but is slightly shadier, due to more trees, and there is no paved road.
Reviewed by TC on 12/29/2006
Um.. You need to fix the directions given out by mapquest. It says the location is on the corner of Alicia Pkwy and Aliso Creek Road. You're not there. None of the local patrons knew of a nearby trails either. It looks like you are possibly of of Awma Rd.? Please arrange better directions.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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