This weekend Brandon, Emily, and I went to the Dripping Cave which is located in the Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park in Laguna Niguel. This park was pretty easy to get to by going over the Ortega Highway and was only about an hours drive. We got a late start though, leaving our house at 8:00 AM. I would suggest arriving there as soon as the park opens to ensure a parking spot. When we arrived at the Alicia Parkway lot, it was pretty full already. It is $3 to park in the lot. There is a machine that gives you a parking pass. It accepts cards and one dollar bills.
When we started out to the first trail head, we were met by a very nice volunteer who gave us a map and marked the best route to take to get to our point of interest. The route was also going to pass Cave Rock which we thought might be neat to check out as well.
The park map is very detailed and color coded for the difficulty of the terrain. This made our hike great as we could pick and choose how difficult we wanted our path to be.
The first leg of the hike was on a paved road that was quite wide. We found ourselves dodging hundreds of snails and a few caterpillars that seemed to have to get to the other side of the road for whatever reason. Fortunately, they were far enough apart that we could avoid stepping on them easily. 🙂We had cloud cover for most of the morning and it even sprinkled a bit on us for the first mile of the hike. It wasn’t enough water to make the ground muddy but it left beautiful water drops on all of the plants and spiderwebs.Our first stop was going to be Cave Rock. The trails were all clearly marked which made it easy to navigate to where we wanted to go.Here we are in Cave Rock. This was a very neat spot and we were the only ones there which made it pretty peaceful. We stopped here for a bit to have our snack and enjoy the view.We hiked up and over Cave Rock to find the trail on the other side of it that goes around and back down the hillside. We were up so high the cyclists on the main road looked like ants. The trail looped around and down to the trail we wanted to take to get to the Dripping Cave.I, of course, had to stop to take pictures of all of the beautiful flowers along the way. They had the drops of rain on them still which made them even more fun to photograph.The cave was bigger than I expected it to be which was a neat surprise. We were in the cave by ourselves for a bit before anyone else arrived.
We stopped for lunch in the shade of a huge tree that had a small cave tucked behind it.There were a lot of wild flowers in bloom today, and it was very pretty to look at the painted hillside with the blue cloud scattered sky behind it.According to my watch, this hike was 6.08 miles, 13,385 steps, and took just under three hours which includes all of our stops to take breaks and eat lunch. This was a wonderful hike and I will definitely be going back to try out some of the harder trails.