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Aliso Viejo, California

Hike to Dripping Cave in the Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness

5.8 Miles Total - 300 ft gain - Loop Trail

Originally 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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Tags

Fitness
Photography
Mountain Biking
Running
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Simple, but sweet

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!

Great Flat And Short One

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.

Rad Little Hike!!

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!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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Nearby Adventures

Explore Aliso Creek and Wood Canyon

11.7 Miles Round Trip - 1332 ft gain

Mountain Bike Car Wreck Trail through Aliso Canyon

7 Miles Round Trip - 1000 ft gain

Hike the West Ridge Trail

1.5 Miles Round Trip - 150 ft gain