Little Sycamore Canyon and Serrano Ridge Loop

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Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Little Sycamore Canyon and Serrano Ridge Loop is a 4.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Laguna Woods, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length4.7 miElevation gain810 ftRoute typeLoop
Kid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingrunningViewsWildlifeNo dogs
Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (130)
Photos (743)
Recordings (222)
Completed (666)
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sarah flowers
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Hiking
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Joelle Bartkins
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HikingFeeGreat!

I love this trail! I went solo and felt completely safe. The first 2.5 miles consist of an incline, decline, incline - nice views, some shade later on, windy trail - really lovely. Then you walk along the ridge at the top and the views are just so amazing and you feel so far away from everyone (although admittedly you can hear the traffic. Still feels awesome all things considered!) and then you descend for the final mile, some more shade and a welcome break for your calves :) Saw maybe 15 hikers and 6 bikers on my way up. Another 10 bikers and 10 hikers on the ridge. And another 10 hikers on my way down. Went around 9:30 am on a Sunday. Did it clockwise, and definitely recommend that, otherwise the first part is really steep - it was a treat to come down that part at the end. Happy hiking!

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David Tran
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Hiking

Got there a bit after 8am and didn't see too many people. Parking is $3. Nice varied terrain. Did it clockwise and I do think that is the better way to go about it!

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Sydney Walters
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HikingGreat!

It’s a nice trail. About 1/3 of it is within sight and sound of the highway so that’s not great. Watch out for mountain bikers!

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Amaris Salas
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HikingFee
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Heather Maddigan
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HikingNo shade

This was a fun 2 hour ( ish) hike with several trail types. Some narrow paths,wide paths, sand, gravel, stones, some rock . Kept it interesting! Great signage. NO SHADE. Bring water and wear sunscreen . Gradual incline if you go left to start, but up almost the whole way. Popular with bikers so pay attention . Saw a bunch of Hawks and turkey vultures today too!

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Kim H.
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HikingNo shade

Really pretty and enjoyable trail. No shade. It was not crowded at all, even though I went on a Sunday afternoon.

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Jared Fawcett
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HikingNo shade

Excellent trail. I would advise going clock wise and descending down Lower Sycamore trail rather than ascending. The views on this trail are amazing and plenty of wildlife to see. Lots of Turkey Vultures flying close by over head. The real reward is the views once at the top. They don’t disappoint!

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Lisa Schultz
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HikingFee
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Kevin Milligan
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HikingBugsNo shade

Well marked and (mostly) graded trails. The first mile is steep with some loose rock. Next mile and a half is a wide graded road - shared with bicycle traffic. All cyclists we encountered (about a dozen on a Saturday morning) were polite and courteous, most had a bell or other noise maker so we heard them coming from behind. Steep downhill for about 1/2 mile with poorly graded switch backs. A lightly shaded flat patch for about 1/2 mile comes next - close to the highway, so some road noise. Also, gnats in this damp stretch. Next is another uphill, some a bit steep and exposed to sun. The steep parts of this entire trail are least maintained with loose rock and screed. Finish stretch is downhill to the nature center parking lot. Super friendly and helpful staff rangers at the nature center. Free maps of trails for this and surrounding areas. Four stars for me because of the road noise in a couple stretches and proximity to the city. Never really felt like I was away. Even with that, we’ll return to hike some of the other longer trails. Parking lot was full by 9:00am on a Saturday (I picked up the last space) so start early on weekends (sign says lot opens at 8:00).

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Sara Anderson
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HikingNo shade
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Shanmukha Donepudi
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HikingNo shadeRocky

Very nice trail, not a lot traffic if you start early. Note that NIX parking opens at 8 am. It was a moderate trail with no shade. Intial climb was a bit tough. Lot of rattlesnakes on the way down via stagecoach trail, you can hear the noise as you pass by. Be careful and watch your step.

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Tony Jaime
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Hiking

my first hike in about 10 years. why choose this trail? simple, because i'm dumb. to add to that we went the opposite direction which made it even more difficult. i was looking for a way to call uber up on serrano ridge trail when i found out we had an hour left in the hike. the best part was coming down little sycamore trail knowing i was almost at the staging area and ac was waiting for me. all in all this trail kicked my butt! my wife tells me this will get me in shape, i keep telling her round is a shape. oh well.

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David Haupt
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Hiking

Challenging hike in the Laguna Canyons which is actually a network of trails that are interconnected. Trail is mostly dirt but some rocky areas. Not a lot of overhead canopy but there are some shady areas. Not a lot of wildlife as there was a moderate amount of traffic on the trail. Overall a good outting with some beautiful scenic views of the canyons and valleys.

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Ritz Joaquin-Krevoy
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RunningNo shade

Great for either hiking or trail running. Bring water or any hydration fluids for any activity you do. Family-Friendly. There is an information desk and restrooms at the trailhead so for people who are new to the area, that’s something you should know. Also, there’s not a lot of people who know about Little Sycamore Trail so what they end up doing is, as soon as they park their car, they go to the nearest trail they see. Watch out for bikers coming/going down Serrano.

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Scott Lyon
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HikingMuddy
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Laura Dondero
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Hiking

My first time to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and I will be back. I especially liked Stagecoach trail and Little Sycamore trail, which are a little technical, rocky. Great Nature Center at this trailhead, along with bathrooms and water. Parking is $3, well worth it, and doesn't open till 8:00. However, I got there early, and at 7:40 the Ranger came and opened up.

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Desiree Galton
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Hiking

More like a 6.5 mile hike. Lots of uphill at the beginning and end. Travelled counter clockwise which I suggest as there are a lot of loose rocks at the beginning. Happy hiking!

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Lisa Gibson
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Hiking

Good first hike in Laguna. Nice views.

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James Pippin
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Hiking

Nice trail, some sections wide some single track. decent views of Irvine at the top.

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Kathy O'Connor-Phelps
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Hiking

Enjoyable hike to start the new year. Plenty of up and down areas but nothing crazy. This would be a great route to run.

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Jeremy Widen
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First to Review

I really liked it, extreme heat and all. My wife did not.

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Tanine Falatoonzadeh
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Nicole Allen
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Shawn Jewelinski
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Anna Goncharova
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Jaz Myne
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