Hiking Aliso Peak, Southern California
My soul was seriously thirsty for some fresh air in my lungs and dirt under my feet. You see, I’m currently in Orange County, CA about to approach one of the hardest weekends of my life. This weekend we’ll say “goodbye” to my mom at her funeral followed by the burial on Catalina Island.
A little less than a month ago, she lost her courageous and gracious fight against cancer. For seven years, she battled hard and was an inspiration to everyone she met. We traveled to amazing places, she saw me marry the love of my life and my brother meet his future wife, and she lived every day with so much love for life and everyone around her.
The past few weeks have been more challenging than I could have ever imagined and I know that the days to come will present even more emotions. In the future, I’m sure I’ll post on how her death has changed my life forever, but for now, it’s all about one foot in front of the other and hitting the trails for therapy.
Aliso Peak Hike at a Glance
- Trailhead – Seaview Park, Laguna Niguel, CA
- Round trip distance – 1.6 miles
- Time – 1 hour
- Difficulty – easy to moderate
- Elevation gain – 533 feet (most of it is on the way back)
- Summit elevation – 683 feet
- Pet friendly – yes
My parents’ house is relatively close to the trailhead, so I made the trek from their house. If you don’t live in the area, take Pacific Island to the west end of Seaview Park in Laguna Niguel. There is a lot of free parking on the street here.
From the grass of Seaview Park, walk to the west end, toward the gated community. The grass turns to dirt here and you’ll see some drinking fountains along with a picnic table.
After following the dirt trail for about a quarter of a mile, you’ll reach a great lookout that sits on a concrete slab and has a great picnic table. This is a wonderful spot to view Laguna Beach and Catalina on a clear day.
Continue on past the concrete and you will immediately start a steep descent down a washed out trail. The trail is loose in some areas and requires a little bit of fancy footwork to make sure you don’t slip. This section does not last very long and the trail soon levels out past some house where the poor people live (*sarcasm*) and the descends again for a bit before climbing toward the summit. The trail is very well marked as you can see in the picture below.
The actual ascent to the summit is not long or steep, but you will be rewarded with amazing views of Laguna. There is a bench you can sit on at the top and it’s a great spot for some whale watching during peak months as well. While I was up there, I could see a pod of dolphins in the distance just off shore.
The most strenuous part of this hike is making your way back to Seaview park view the steep trail. Although this is a relatively short trail, it will still make you suck some serious wind! There are a lot of great spots to continue to enjoy the view (aka catch your breath).
If you’re in the South Orange County area and looking for a quick hike to take in the fresh air and views, then this is the one for you. It was just what I needed on this particular day to fuel my soul.