“A fun combination of trails in the James Dilley Preserve.
— Erwin Chang
Lake · Views
An easy little pac-man like loop that gets views of local communities, toll roads, electricity towers, and Barbara Lake.
Closed for a couple days after rain.
Need to Know
$3 parking fee at the machine. Change is given in the form of $1 coins. Scarce tree cover, so bring sun protection.
For this route, I started out on the Canyon Trail
and then continued up the Black Jack Trail
. Black Jack is the steepest incline, but it's only about 1/4 of a mile. Continue on the Ridge Top Trail
and you'll see communities of Aliso Viejo to the right. Keep taking right forks and you'll pass a large-ish circular "plateau" on the left.
This spot has views of the canyon in all directions, but skip it because you'll come back to it later. Ridge Top Trail
will comes to the junction of Gravel Trail and Edison Trail
and take the right fork again to stay on Edison Trail
. I can only assume it's named that for all the electricity towers spotted along the path.
There are some fake paths that are for utility maintenance of the towers only that may confuse you on the trail, but they're pretty well marked so you can avoid those. Edison wraps along Barbara's Lake, and you'll be running alongside the lake with some tree cover and sights of ducks.
Once the lake ends, start on Barbara's Lake Trail
- this part was probably one of the longer straights with less to see while going along side the 133 freeway/toll road. You can continue on Barbara's Lake Trail
to the parking lot, or continue on to see the inner canyon by taking a left at the Sunflower Trail
has a decent incline and eventually hits Mariposa Trail
. Take a left at the Mariposa Trail
junction, and eventually you get back to that large-ish circular "plateau". Once at the "plateau" you'll find the start of the Canyon Trail
alongside the south side of the circle and head down it.
has a lot of loose rocks, so take care when descending. Once it levels off, you'll be in the bottom of the canyon - it's probably a little longer than the Lake Trail, but a little more interesting. You'll soon come across familiar surroundings as you'll exit out back at the parking lot.
History & Background
I read that Barbara's Lake is the largest non man-made lake in the Laguna chain of lakes.