Pectin Reef Loop, Aliso & Wood RW is a 3.1 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Aliso Viejo, CA and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
Miocene marine fossil beds, flowing creek, overgrazed bottomland This little hiked portion of the extensive Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park features a fossil reef from which Miocene Era dolphins, whales, and other creatures have been recovered. The beds themselves aren't quite worth the trip and the scenery, though locally interesting, largely consists of overgrazed hillsides and bottomlands where alien bamboo fight it out with the native mulefat and bay laurels. Part of the trail is a dirt sidewalk running along Alicia Parkway. The best rocks from the Pectin Reef are at the Aliso and Wood Canyons Museum where you can also see the skeleton of a dolphin and Waldo, a ground sloth who was uncovered during the construction of the toll road you'll pass under. If you do visit, pick a cool day when you can linger over the fossil beds and locate a few finds. Leave what you discover at the site for others to enjoy.