Aliso Creek and Woods Canyon

A long-standing trail system in Laguna Beach that harbors singletrack ranging from smooth to ultra-rocky.

Mountain Biking Severe

Distance
24 km
Ascent
720 m
Descent
720 m
Low Point
28 m
High Point
307 m
Gradient
11˚
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Aliso Creek and Woods Canyon Map

Description

Aliso Creek and Woods Canyon Wilderness Park may offer the highest probability of a celebrity mountain biker sighting of any trail system in the world. With tons of high-profile pros living in and around Laguna Beach, from Brian Lopes to Hans Rey, Aliso is the training ground for many of the world's best.

In order to adequately serve as just such a training ground, Aliso Creek has to offer a significant amount of challenge—and indeed it does! While some of the trails here are smooth and wide, others are absurdly rocky and gnarly. Trails like Car Wreck and Rock-It will challenge your technical bike handling to the core!

"The Rock-It trail is a very technical downhill that drops 395 feet in 1 mile over some pretty gnarly terrain," writes Mountain Bike Bill. "The signature section of the trail is a steep downhill of rock ledges that can jar the fillings out of your teeth. Speed is your friend through this section but it can take some big brass ones to ease off the brakes and let the bike flow. After surviving the rock ledges you finish off the trail with a 100 yard section of washboards that will get rid of any fillings that may have survived the earlier portion of the trail."

Due to the complexity of the trail system with singletrack spidering every which way, there are indeed some easier and wider trails in the network. However, it's tough to find a trail here that offers a mellow grade. While some short sections roll through creek bottoms or along the ridge top (known as the "Top of the World"), to do any sort of significant ride in this zone you must both climb and descend the steep mountainsides. It seems like even the easiest trail climbs straight up the mountain, with no concession made for more moderate grades

Again, this aerobic difficulty provides an excellent training ground for the pros in the area. If somebody blows by you on the climb, don't fret—it's possible the person that passed you is one of the best riders in the world.

Challenging riding aside, the views of the Pacific Ocean from the Top of the World alone make this trail system worth riding! While the undergrowth and general atmosphere while on the singletrack itself isn't all that impressive, when the views open up on top of the mountain you'll just have to grab your phone and snap a few photos.

Sources: http://www.mountainbikebill.com/AlisoCreek.htm

Difficulty

Severe

Widely variable, narrow trail tread with steeper grades and unavoidable obstacles of 15in/38cm tall or less. Obstacles may include unavoidable bridges 24in/61cm wide or less, large rocks, gravel, difficult root sections, and more. Ideal for advanced-level riders.

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Hike a bike
  • Road sections
  • Drops
  • Rock Rolls
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Guidebooks in this area