Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is located in Aliso Viejo, CA with close to 4,000 acres within its boundaries. Most of the park is coastal sage scrub, although the northern area of Wood Canyon included seasonal streams and is heavily wooded with mature oak and sycamore trees.
As with most of the wilderness parks, there are few amenities here. Most visitors come for the over 30 miles of multi-use trails in the park, with elevation gains/losses of 600’ in some areas. There are several scenic points of interest along the trails with names like Cave Rock, Old Sycamore Grove and the Old Corral. Another popular spot is Dripping Cave, once used as shelter by Native Americans and also as a hideout by outlaws. Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians are welcome on most of the trails. There are also several scenic overlooks that offer panoramic views of the park. On clear days, the Pacific Ocean can also be seen from a few of the higher vantage points.
The park is often used for scientific and academic studies because of archaeological sites and geological formations. Many marine fossils have been discovered here.
Aliso and Wood Canyons are considered a wildlife sanctuary, so chances of an interesting animal or bird sightings are considerable. Larger mammals which live in the park include raccoon, skunk, bobcat, coyote and deer. Some of the birds found here include hawks, owls, woodpeckers and roadrunners.
The large size of Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park makes it an ideal place to spend the entire day with bikes and a picnic lunch. It is best to come in the cooler months or in the early morning since the canyons can get unbearably hot in the summer.