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Top of the World Loop



7.1 mile 11.4 kilometer loop
92% Runnable


Ascent: 896' 273 m
Descent: -901' -275 m
High: 1,025' 312 m
Low: 203' 62 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 30% (16°)


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Trail shared by John McKinney

From the Top of the World and back again.

John McKinney

Features Birding · Views · Wildlife

Dogs are only allowed on SOME trails in the park.

Trails may close for three days after rain.


A nice loop run from the Top of the World down into the main part of the park and back. Remember, heading down from the Top of the World right from the start means you have to climb back up to it at the end!

Need to Know

The park is open from 7 am to sunset (the parking lot closes at sunset).
Parking fees are $3 per vehicle daily. Other rates or discounts may apply; contact the park for more information.


This 7.1-mile loop run starts at the parking area at the Top of the World. Just before starting the main run, from the parking lot take a left and head up to the Carolynn Wood View Knoll for some panoramic views! The knoll is actually the site of a buried 3-million-gallon water reservoir!

Head back down the knoll, take a right and traverse the edge of the knoll heading north, staying right until you reconnect with West Ridge Trail. Take a left onto West Ridge Trail to head north. At about 0.9 miles, turn right onto Mathis Canyon Trail; this trail descends, somewhat steeply, into the canyon.

At the junction with Wood Canyon Trail, take a left to head north; follow this north to the northernmost area of the park. Take a left onto Cholla Trail at about 4.4 miles and ascend the rather steep trail to the ridge. Take a left onto West Ridge Trail and follow it all the way back to the trailhead.

Most of these trails are multi-use, therefore be sure to know the right-of-way rules and be aware of other users.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

Flora & Fauna

The park is designated as a wildlife sanctuary; there are many rare and endangered plants and animals in the park.

History & Background

Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park was originally part of the Juaneno or Acajchemem tribal land. Ownership then transferred between several individuals and companies before falling to Orange County Parks.

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Mar 3, 2019
Mike Heim
Jun 14, 2018
Christopher Rix
Beautiful views and intense big hills! 7.1mi

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Trail Ratings

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  4.2 from 19 votes
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5,893 Views Last Month
103,499 Since Aug 3, 2017



Top of the World Sunset
Aug 3, 2017 near Laguna…, CA
hiking down from the top of the world (you have to go a little off course for this but worth it)
Sep 2, 2019 near Aliso V…, CA
Coyote Run in Aliso Woods.  Wood Creek is on the left.
May 23, 2015 near Aliso V…, CA
Cool rest stop.
Mar 28, 2016 near Aliso V…, CA
View to the west from the top of Mathis Canyon along West Ridge Trail.
May 22, 2015 near Aliso V…, CA
A Saddleback Dusk
Aug 3, 2017 near Laguna…, CA