The Top 8 Trails for Hiking, Running, and Biking in Laguna Beach

The Top 8 Trails for Hiking, Running, and Biking in Laguna Beach

Most people think of Laguna Beach as an idyllic, sun-swept, coastal town in SoCal with endless pristine beaches, but most people do not realize that Laguna Beach is surrounded by more than 20,000 acres of pristine Coastal Wilderness, state parks, and designated county wilderness areas.

Our amazing parks and wilderness areas are all connected by a network of hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and running trails. There are three main parks and wilderness areas accessible from the city of Laguna Beach. Here are links to each of these areas plus helpful trail maps:

The Laguna Coast Wilderness (7,000 acres)

Crystal Cove State Park (2,400 acres)

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness (4,500 acres)

If you’d like to hike, ride, or run in Laguna Beach, then check out our picks for the top 8 trails to try:

1. Bommer Ridge & Emerald Canyon

Bommer Ridge & Emerald Canyon

Old Emerald Trail to Bommer Ridge is a classic mountain biking, hiking, and trail running loop in the Laguna Beach area. Head to  Laguna Coast Wilderness Park to explore this 8.2-mile loop. This trail is an excellent starting point to explore the entire network of trails throughout the park.

2. Boat Road & Laguna Ridge

Laguna Ridge

Another great series of trails in the Laguna Coast Wilderness, take Boat Road to Laguna Ridge for a fun 4-mile loop with a 600-foot elevation gain and fantastic views up and down the coast. Definitely bring your phone to snap some photos of the coast on the way back down.

3. Bomber Ridge from the Pacific Ridge Trailhead

Mountain Biking Bomber Ridge From Pacific Ridge Trailhead

Akin to the “back door” of the Laguna Coast Wilderness, the Pacific Ridge Trailhead is the starting point for a whole network of trails in the interior of both the Laguna Coast Wilderness and Crystal Cove State Park. From the trailhead, travel south-east, parallel to Highway 73. Follow the signs to continue on Bommer Ridge and after about two miles, you will follow the ridge toward the ocean until you hit the end (where Water Tank, Boat Road, and Laguna Ridge trails meet). Return the way you came for a 7.5-mile out-and-back ride or hike.

4. Water Tank Trail

The Top 8 Trails for Hiking, Running, and Biking in Laguna Beach

No visit to Laguna Beach is complete without a hike, run, or bike ride along the Water Take Trail in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.  This 1.7-mile out-and-back hike offers a steep climb and a payoff of amazing views year-round and incredible wildflowers in the springtime.

5. A Sunset Beach Run at Crystal Cove

Crystal Cove Sunset

It is hard to beat a Southern California sunset run (can you feel those calves burning?), and Crystal Cove State Park has 3.2 miles of some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. Head to the Beachcomber Cafe after your run for a beach-side dinner with tons of fresh seafood.

6. B.F.I. Trail in Crystal Cove State Park

B.F.I. Trail

The “Big Fat Incline” or B.F.I. trail is an excellent gateway into the network of trails that Crystal Cove State Park features, and additionally, connects into the Laguna Coast Wilderness. But be forewarned: its name is well deserved and you’re sure to get your heart rate up.

7.  Crystal Cove Loop Trail

Crystal Cove Loop Trail views while hiking

There are a few loop options in Crystal Cove State Park, from moderate to strenuous. For a rewarding challenge, try hiking the 9 mile Loop Trail of the park’s perimeter to experience everything the park has to offer. The trek takes about 4.5 hours to complete and has an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. Reward yourself after your hike with some time on the beach or a dip in the ocean.

8. Mountain Bike Car Wreck Trail through Aliso Canyon

Car Wreck Trail - Aliso Canyon hiking in Laguna Beach

The Alison Canyon & Woods Wilderness preserve has one of the best networks of mountain biking trails in Southern California, and perhaps none so (in)famous as Car Wreck. No one knows how this decades-old car came to rest in the middle of the wilderness – but this eerie sight is worth a visit and a photo!

Did we miss your favorite trail to run, bike or hike on? Let us know in the comments or tell us at @VisitLaguna on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK.  

About the Author

Josiah Roe

Josiah Roe

Photographer and writer from San Francisco, CA.

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