Laurel Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"This hike begins with a scenic footpath that proceeds up an
open valley into a riparian canyon featuring several seasonal
stream crossings and the 50-foot Laurel Canyon Falls. Fire
roads then lead to an ocean overlook and an easy downhill
back to your car."
--Randy Vogel, Best Easy Day Hikes: Orange County (Falcon Guides).
"The best single hike within the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is surely the secluded Laguna Canyon loop. Though it lies close to the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor tollway, that roadway and much associated urban development is hidden from both sight and sound along most of the route. Volunteers frequently staff a booth at the Willow Canyon staging area, offering tips about the logistics of hiking in the park as well as natural history."
--Jerry Schad and David Money Harris, Afoot & Afield: Orange County (Wilderness Press).
"Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is the Orange County of the 19th century, a lovely diversity of landscapes highlighted by woodlands, grasslands and scenic ridgelines with handsome sandstone outcroppings. The 6,500-acre park also contains Orange County’s only natural lakes, which provide habitat for fish as well as for such waterfowl as geese, grebes, coots, cormorants and kingfishers. James Irvine and his partners purchased the one-time Rancho San Joaquin in 1865 and the company grazed cattle on it for more than a century. Now, with the Irvine Company’s cooperation, substantial acreage in and around Laguna Canyon is becoming parkland under the stewardship of Orange County Harbors, Beaches and Parks."
--John McKinney, Orange County: A Day Hiker's Guide (The Trailmaster).
"This picturesque loop explores the upper reaches of the park
through Laurel and Willow Canyons. The two adjacent canyons,
filled with oaks and sycamores, run parallel to each other, divided by Willow Ridge. The scenic ridge overlooks the San Joaquin Hills, the coastal canyons, and the Pacific Ocean. Laurel Canyon is a hiking-only, stream-fed riparian corridor with large, weather-sculpted sandstone formations."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes Around Orange County (Day Hike Books).
A nice sunny day and a bottle of wine from the Laguna Winery made for a pleasant day.
First part is up hill then finishes with a walk down an oak tree canyon.
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Laurel canyon was typically dry a this time of year but nevertheless beautiful. Only a handful of other hikers. Good views along route. It was possible to find an endangered species of dudleya (Dudleya stolonifera) growing on moss-covered granite. The return route along Willow Canyon should be avoided (as well as the rest of the park) as it is teeming with mountain bikers. Reverse your route and take Laurel Canyon back to the start.
This is great little hike just inland of Laguna Beach. My roommate and I went to run the trails there. I liked the Laurel Canyon part of the trail better because it is hiking only and we didn't have to watch out for bikers. There are tons of paths and other trails that you can take in the area. I'm going back for sure.
This ia a nice hike [as stated, if you don't mind seeing the toll road at the top of the hill]. The first [lower] part of the hike is for foot traffic only and crosses the stream a couple times. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is no longer restricted to docent-led tours - it is open to the public Saturday & Sunday, 8am to 4pm - $3 to park. There are many other trails in this park that are great for biking too. It might be a 3-star for some people, but I gave it for b/c it's insanely close to me, and yet I still feel like I'm getting away! http://www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
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