If interesting rocks are your thing, then this run is for you. A 6-mile out-and-back run that leads to some interesting caves and an old corral.
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.
To start the run, head west from the park office on Aliso Creek Trail
; this trail parallels the road and Aliso Creek. At 1.5 miles, turn right onto Wood Canyon Trail
, a dirt road. At 1.7 miles, take a left onto a side trail that leads to Cave Rock; here you'll find several wind-sculpted sandstone rock formations and caves.
The trail rejoins Wood Canyon Trail
at about two miles. Continue north on Wood Canyon Trail
to the intersection with Dripping Cave Trail; take a left and navigate to Dripping Cave, named for the year-round water seeping above and into the cave. It is also known as Robbers Cave, where supposedly, stagecoach robbers and cattle rustlers hid out in the 19th century.
Backtrack on Dripping Cave Trail to Wood Canyon Trail
and take a left to continue north. Once you reach, and have enjoyed the view of, the Old Corral turn around and follow Wood Canyon Trail
all the way back to Aliso Creek Trail
. At the junction, take a left onto Aliso Creek Trail
to head east 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
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.
The park is designated as a wildlife sanctuary; there are many rare and endangered plants and animals in the park.