Dripping Cave Trail Hike
- 5 miles - Easy Effort
- 2 Hours (Total)
- 400 Total Feet of Climbing
- Max Elevation of 250 feet
- No Dogs Allowed
Tucked away in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, just minutes from Laguna Beach, the Dripping Cave Trail is one of the most fun and easiest hikes in Orange County. Dripping cave, used by native peoples and later bandits, is huge, open, and fun to explore. The park is rich with natural beauty and wildlife, and on the way to Dripping Cave, we'll visit Cave Rock, another cool rock formation hidden away from the busier trails. This five-mile hike is mostly flat, easy to follow, and family-friendly.
- Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Dripping Cave Trail
- Where to Park for the Dripping Cave Trail
- Hike Tips and Recommendations
When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.
Where is the Dripping Cave Trail?
The Dripping Cave Trail is in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. The park has over 30 miles of trails, and there are many ways to get to the caves, but the route I'll show you here is the most popular and the easiest. Use the official trailhead at:
Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, 28373 Alicia Pkwy, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
There are bathrooms at the trailhead and also about half-way to the Dripping Cave.
Gear For the Hike
This is an easy hike that can be done in fitness clothing or light hiking gear. In the summer it can be very hot. I bring 0.5L of water with me.
Top Spring 2023 Gear Picks
Osprey Stratos and Sirrus 24 Daypack ( Amazon | Sirrus REI | Stratos REI )
Garmin Mini 2 Satellite Communicator ( Amazon | REI )
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles ( REI | Amazon )
As a hiking guide, I test lots of hiking gear. On my picks page, I'll show you all of the gear that I actually use. I don't accept paid promotions or talk about the stuff that doesn't make the cut. It's just the gear that works best, so you don't have to waste your money.
All My March 2023 Top Gear Picks
Dripping Cave Trail Maps
Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park offers well-maintained and well-marked trails. The first part of the hike is on a paved road, but don't let that put you off; it's peaceful and scenic. The rest of the hike is on sandy dirt trails.
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
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Guides to Help You Navigate
- Dripping Cave and Cave Rocks were used for thousands of years as shelters by native peoples. Aliso Creek, which you'll hike along, was the border between the Acjachemen and Tongva peoples, and artifacts from the area suggest that trading and seasonal migrations would occur in this area.
- Dripping Cave is also known as Robber's Cave, because it served as a hideout for Juan Flores and his gang in 1856-57. They would rob the stagecoaches between San Diego and Los Angeles and then hide out in the caves. The holes on the ceiling of the cave housed pegs that held their gear.
- The "drip" from the cave only occurs when it rains, which is rare in Southern California.
Dripping Cave Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
There's a toilet and picnic benches here.
Once you're done at the Dripping Cave, return the way you came. You can go straight instead of taking the Cave Rock Trail detour, and if you want, take the paved path back once you get to Aliso Creek.
This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).
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