Top of the World Hike (Laguna Beach)
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance||2.4 miles (3.9 km)|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||890 feet (271m)|
|Highest Elevation||1,020 feet (311m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park|
There are big payoffs on the short but steep Top of the World hike in Laguna Beach. You’ll climb through the coastal scrub of Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park until you reach the panoramic vista at Top of the World. From there, you’ll have views from Catalina Island to Mt Baldy, and there’s even a bench where you can soak it all in.
Laguna Beach changed the trailhead parking and is now ticketing. It is not safe to park at the trailhead unless you have resident permit. Try the Car Wreck hike instead, which offers a stop at Top of the World.
If you just want to visit Top of the World without breaking a sweat, you can simply drive to Alta Laguna Park and stroll over to it. But if you want to get a short hike in too, this guide will get you there.
Where Is the Top of the World Trailhead?
Parking for the hike is at the end of Canyon Acres Drive in a residential section of Laguna Beach. The parking is limited, but the trail isn’t too popular, so you can usually find a spot. Just be conscious of the no parking zones and driveways, and please be respectful of the residents. The good news is that parking is free.
Use this trailhead address:
580 Canyon Acres Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Gear for the Hike
Don’t try this hike in casual clothes. At the very least wear fitness gear with good footwear. If you can, wear hiking shoes or boots and bring trekking poles for the steep climb and descent. There is no shade on the hike and it can get very hot. Bring 1L of water and stay hydrated.
The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: Women – Men
I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women)
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI (or Amazon).
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 2020.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
Top of the World Trail Maps
Overall the Canyon Acres Trail is wide and easy to follow. There are a few junctions to be aware of, but if you use this guide, you will fine.
Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map
Your best move to navigate this hike is to take a paper map, compass, and a GPS device. Load the GPX track from this hike onto your GPS to ensure that you’re on the trail. I’m a big fan of GPS watches; I just glance down at it to cross-check my position and use paper when I want a deeper dive. The GPS watch that I’m using now is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (price: REI or Amazon). It’s pricey but has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of other wellness, fitness, and smart-watch applications. For a more affordable option, check out the value-packed Garmin Instinct (price: REI or Amazon), a similar watch without some of the features. There are also great smartphone GPS apps like GaiaGPS. If you end up getting GaiaGPS premium, I’ve arranged for a 20-40% discount for my readers.
Top of the World Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
From here you just go back down the way you came. If you need to use a bathroom, pop over to Alta Laguna Park, just a minute or two from Top of the World.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.