Laguna Leg Up

Get ready to be bowled over by a one-two punch of colorful scenery: a hike at the west…

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Get ready to be bowled over by a one-two punch of colorful scenery: a hike at the west end of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park combines brilliant wildflowers and spectacular vistas of the Pacific. The 4-mile (round-trip) Laguna Bowl Loop elevates you to ocean views that are practically non-stop while you cross green ridges speckled in the oranges and yellows of bush sunflower, monkey flower, and mustard. Even the prickly pear cactuses are flowering, with bright orange explosions topping their spiny paddles. The loop gets off to a steep start on Water Tank Road before tapering out on a ridge above Laguna Canyon. Like the contented bees, you’ll buzz along the wide dirt trail with coastal canyon off both sides of the ridge. Circle back down Laguna Bowl Road for an overview of downtown Laguna Beach and the red seats of the Irvine Bowl, an outdoor amphitheater that hosts the Pageant of the Masters and puts the bowl in Laguna Bowl Loop. Marvelous performance by nature!

Enter Laguna Coast Wilderness Park from the top of Poplar St. in Laguna Beach (map). Hike 1.7 miles up Water Tank Rd. (unpaved after 0.1 mile) to a junction with Bommer Ridge Rd. and Laguna Bowl Rd. Turn right and hike 1.5 miles down Laguna Bowl Rd. to the end of the trail at Laguna Canyon Rd. Turn right and walk along the sidewalk, bearing right on Broadway to reach Acacia Dr. Turn right and go one block to High Dr. Turn right, walk up to Poplar St., and turn right to return to the trailhead. No dogs.

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