The paved trail that circles the Soka University of America campus might not be a hike in the conventional sense of the word, but with outstanding views of Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, the Santa Ana Mountains and the San Gabriels (at least on clear days) it’s still a worthwhile destination. Unlike most of Orange County’s nearby regional parks, it’s dog friendly. Veteran hikers who live or work in the area can get their outdoor fix here while those who are unaware of Orange County’s natural side can get a taste of it on this trail.
This post describes a clockwise circuit of the trail, although it can be walked in either direction. From the south end of Lot A, pick up the trail on the opposite side of Hope St. It heads southwest along the rim of Aliso Canyon, providing views of almost all of south Orange County. You pass the performing arts center and a few dorms before reaching the south end of the loop. The trail then heads along the west side of the campus, providing an aerial view of Wood Canyon. You may be able to pick out hikers and cyclists on the trails hundreds of feet below. As the trail returns to the main campus entrance, you’ll get a good view of Moulton Peak and if visibility is good, the distant San Gabriel Mountains. Conclude the loop by hiking past the fountains and pools at the front of the campus and returning to the parking lot.
Text and photography copyright 2017 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.