Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
28373 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Niguel Park
Information: (949) 831-2790 or www.ocparks.com The park is open 7
a.m. to sunset daily, year round, for hiking, bicycling and
equestrian use. Early morning and the hour before sunset are great
times to enjoy the trails in the summer. Parking $2. The Orange
County Natural History Museum is at the Park entrance and open 11
a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Learn more about Orange County spiders at a lecture by “Spider
Man” Jim Ortiz, at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Irvine Ranch Water
District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave. Information: (949) 831-3287 or
Crystal Cove State Park
8471 Pacific Coast Highway,
Laguna Beach Park Conditions (949) 494-3539; Interpretive Program
(949) 497-7647 www.crystalcove statepark.com or www.parks.ca.gov The
park is open 6 a.m. to sunset daily, year round, for hiking,
bicycling and equestrian use. Parking $3.
Special Activities: Join docent-led Backcountry Hikes on Aug. 17,
18, 24 and 25. Meet at the El Moro Visitor Center promptly at 9 a.m.
Hikes are 3 to 5 miles and last about 2 hours. Be sure to bring water
and wear hiking boots. At 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 28 join a docent-led
sunset and moonlight beach two-mile walk along the boardwalk, beach
and paved path. Meet at Pelican Point parking lot #2 (from Coast
Highway turn toward the beach at the Newport Coast intersection, turn
right at the entrance kiosk and left into first parking lot).
El Moro Visitor Center open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Sundays
and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Crystal Cove Historic District Visitor
Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Crystal Cove Interpretive Association welcomes new volunteers,
call (949) 497-7648.
The Irvine Ranch Land Reserve
The Nature Conservancy (714) 832-7478.
All participants meet at the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
headquarters on Laguna Canyon Road just south of the El Toro Road
intersection. All tours are free, but require reservations!
Activities: Drop In mountain bike ride at Laguna Coast Wilderness
Park, 8 a.m. Aug. 18 and 25. Equestrians take note that on August 18
at 8 a.m. there is a guided equestrian ride in Laguna Coast
Wilderness Park. For the mountain bikers there is a guided ride
through Shady Canyon, Serrano Ridge and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
on Saturday, 5 p.m. Aug. 24.
The 2-3-hour ride covers 10-12 miles.
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
20101 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach
(949) 494-9352 or www.ocparks.com
Call the rangers and ask about special group hikes for schools,
scouts and other organizations and clubs. Parking Fee $2. Wilderness
Access: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday at Willow Canyon
Road staging area on Laguna Canyon Road just south of El Toro Road
intersection. Open for hiker, equestrian and mountain bicyclist
access on specified trails without guides.
Jim Dilley Greenbelt Preserve: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday and
Sunday. Hikers only on specified trails without guides. Trails
include Barbara’s Lake, the largest of the Laguna Lakes and the only
natural lakes in Orange County. Guided hikes in Laurel Canyon: 8 a.m.
every Saturday, 3.5-mile guided hike by Laguna Greenbelt, Inc.
volunteers. Call for reservations and there is $2 donation per hiker.
Laguna Heights: Open 7 a.m. to sunset daily year round. Trailhead
for West Ridge trail and other trails into Aliso and Wood Canyons
Wilderness Park. Train to be a Volunteer Naturalist, register now for
an eight-week course starting Oct. 22. Call Saddleback College for
more information, (949) 582-4555.
* Activities compiled by Mary Fegraus from the LAGUNA CANYON
FOUNDATION, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to preserving,
enhancing and protecting Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and the
adjacent coastal canyon parks. For more information check out
www.lagunacanyon.org or (949) 855-7275 (PARK).