Top Of The World Hike Laguna Beach Featured
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Hikes In and Around Orange County

Top of the World Hike (Laguna Beach)

  • 2.4 miles - Hard Effort
  • 2 Hours (Total)
  • 890 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 1,020 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

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.

In this Guide:
  • Video & Turn by Turn Hike Directions
  • How to Get to the Top of the World Hike
  • Everything You Need to Know To Prepare for the Hike

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?

The parking situation for the Top of the World hike could be better. A combination of hikers blocking driveways, aggressive ticketing, and locals not wanting visitors disturbing their residential vibe means it's best to avoid parking at the trailhead. Your best move is to park in a metered spot or parking lot a few blocks away. Use this address and find a place to park as close to the trailhead street on Canyon Acres Drive: 725 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA

If you park in the lot at 725 Laguna Canyon, it's about a 15-minute walk to the trailhead. Use this address for the trailhead: 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.

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2Hit SOS or just tell loved ones that you're running late where your cell phone has no service.  Review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The best hiking footwear I've ever owned. No blisters. Get them wet, they dry quickly. Lots of cushion and comfort.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProHiking maps, route info, and fitness stats on my wrist. Review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26Lightweight, carries all your gear, and your back doesn't get sweaty. Oh yea, it's also one of the most inexpensive packs you can get.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated July 2024)

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.

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Elevation Profile

Top Of The World Hike Elevation
Here's the one-way elevation profile, which is pretty much straight up. Toward the end you get a few respites.

3D Map

Top Of The World Hike 3d Map
Here you can see how the Canyon Acres Trail climbs straight up to Top of the World. At the top you make a little loop to reach the actual summit.

Top of the World Hike Directions

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Look for the trail at the very end of Canyon Acres Drive.
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Head through the gate area.
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The trail winds around to the left. Stay on the main path and avoid any small side trails.
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And once around the bend you'll see this gate in front of you, which marks the official start of the trail.
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Right after the gate you'll find some signs and a trail marker confirming that you are on the Canyon Acres Trail. From here on out you'll be in Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park.
Top Of The World Hike Directions 7
From the gun the trail is steep. There are no switchbacks; you are pretty much going straight up.
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Shortly after the start you'll see a side trail to the left, which leads to a little overlook. Go straight. There will be plenty of great views when you get to the top.
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The side loop trail joins back in from the left. Head right up the main Canyon Acres Trail.
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This shot gives you an idea of how steep the climb is. You don't get a breather until higher up.
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But you can always stop and turn around to catch your breath. At this point you'll start getting nice views of the ocean.
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Avoid the side trail to the right and continue left on the main trail.
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And soon after that you'll see Top of the World (where the antenna is)  in front of you. Almost there.
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Once you're at this point the views will open up and continue to the top. Here's Saddleback Mountain.
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And back behind you, on a clear day, you'll be able to see Catalina Island.
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The trail alternates flat with steep sections allowing you to take a breather.
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You'll be able to see Rt 133 in the canyon down to your left.
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When the Canyon Acres Trail ends, make the right.
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You'll be rewarded with a flat section offering ocean views. Keep bearing left on the main trail, avoiding and trails to the right or small side trails in either direction. We'll be going to the top of the hill in the distance.
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Then the trail ends, make the hard left to hike the last stretch to the Top of the World.
Top Of The World Hike 99
The trail winds up to the left side of the hill.
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And here you are, Top of the World!
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In addition to Saddleback Mountain and Catalina, on a clear day you can see up to Mt Baldy and Angeles National Forest too.

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.

Need More Info?

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
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!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.