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Dripping Cave in the Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness

Laguna Niguel, California

based on 5 reviews



7.68 miles

Elevation Gain

889 ft

Route Type



Added by Josiah Roe

Beautiful hike through a tourist-free coastal canyon, just a mile from Laguna Beach, to a hidden cave that Juan Flores and his outlaw gang used as a hideout during the 1850's.

Dripping Cave sits tucked away in a corner of Wood Canyon, part of the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and the trail to the cave, while short, requires *at least* a 2.25 mile hike in from the nearest trailhead (West Ridge Trail to Mathis Canyon), though this is less than ideal as that route is 1,000' of decent on trails primarily used by mountain-bikers.

The most straightforward approach is to begin at the vehicle parking area just off Alicia Parkway and to take Aliso Creek Trail 1.5 miles to Wood Canyon Trail. From there go .3 miles to Dripping Cave trail. Follow the clear signs about .4 miles to the cave. 

There are numerous side trails and other loops you can do through the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness, even connecting into the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, so grab a map and have fun!

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Mountain Biking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

Dripping Cave in the Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Reviews

When out with some family, friends and the kiddos. Nice easy hike. Would be nice if the maps marked some of sights like Dripping Cave.

Took 4 kids out for a day hike picnic (ages 11-13) and had a great time. The weather was perfect, not too hot little bit of breeze and not crowded at all for where it’s at. Bring water and snacks and maybe something to identify the insects and bees with as there are many varieties.

This hike was very simple and super easy. Very busy and highly trafficked. This would maybe be a better area for a run or walk with small children. Not a crazy adventure, but still cool to see the cave and read the historical perspective!

It takes around 2.5 hours with a stop; continue on the trail after the cave to do a tiny loop. Do get a map as advised; there's a ranger close to the parking lot.

I love this hike, Aliso Woods is an awesome area to explore in South Orange County. While you are out there I would recommend hitting some of the other surrounding trails. Keep your eye out for wildlife! I have come across a wide variety of animals from bobcats, deer and tons of squirrels. It's a great place to mountain bike or hike, with views of the ocean on top of the surrounding trails to awesome wooded areas with plenty of tree coverage! Make sure you do this hike!!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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