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greenBlue Stagecoach South Intermediate Loop

  4.0 ( 2 ) Favorite


7.8 mile 12.6 kilometer loop
93% Runnable


Ascent: 958' 292 m
Descent: -957' -292 m
High: 816' 249 m
Low: 251' 76 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Tina Bach

A combination of single and doubletrack that is easy and challenging.

Tina Bach

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


A great run of intermediate length, the Stagecoach South Intermediate Loop takes you from Stagecoach South to Laurel Canyon to Upper Laurel Canyon to Serrano Ridge (in the Irvine Open Space Preserve) to the Little Sycamore Canyon Trail. All trails except Little Sycamore Canyon Trail are multi-use, and runners need to watch, and occasionally make room, for other traffic on the trail.

Need to Know

The trail would be easy to intermediate except for the Little Sycamore Canyon Trail stretch. There is a bit of car noise as the area is bordered by busy roads running in the canyon which amplifies the car noise a bit. But once you head away from the 73 Toll Road underpasses, it's beautiful backcountry and well worth the little bit of noise in the beginning.

Parking costs $3 for day use if you don't have an annual pass. Check here for information on annual passes.

Runner Notes

Mostly good footing for trail running except for parts of the Laurel Canyon Trail (where it climbs out of the canyon) and the Little Sycamore Canyon Trail (top portion).


The trail starts at the Nix Nature Center off Laguna Canyon Road and meanders south, underneath the 73 Toll Road, towards the Willow Staging Area. After about 2.8 miles, turn right onto Laurel Canyon Trail, which is an easy and picturesque trail along the bottom of the canyon for the first 0.75 miles, and then becomes a bit more challenging as it climbs out of the canyon. During the climb, it runs alongside a dry creek bed. Here, runners need to pay attention where they tread until the trail meets up with the Upper Laurel Canyon Trail.

The Upper Laurel Canyon Trail is easier, and continues to climb up and out of the canyon before heading back underneath the 73 Toll Road where it leaves you at the start of the the Serrano Ridge Trail (which is part of the adjacent Irvine Open Space Preserve). Upper Laurel Canyon Trail and Serrano Ridge are both doubletrack and not very steep.

Stay on Serrano Ridge Trail until about the 6.5 mile mark where you'll see the sign post for the Little Sycamore Canyon Trail on the right. Little Sycamore Canyon Trail is quite a challenge as the upper portion is fairly washed out, gravelly, and steep. About halfway down the hill it gets a lot tamer and easier to run.

Flora & Fauna

All things typical for Southern California: Live Oak, brush, cacti.


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Apr 2, 2019
Jeremy Jahn
Great runnable trails 8.3mi — 9h 38m

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes


  4.0 from 2 votes
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