About 3.5 miles, (I added an extra mile making it 4.5 miles), 3 hours in duration, over 600′ elevation change, rated Moderate
This was a very enjoyable hike through the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The tail head has a cost of $3 for parking. Right as you start the hike there is a cool little cave alcove you can go into. The hike is rated moderate I suppose because it goes up at a steady pace on a fire road. At the top of the Willow Trail is a number of different trails that you can explore. I was going at a quicker pace than my friend Adam, so I added on a mile and took one of the other trails until I got a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. I then rejoined my friend and we took the Laurel Spur to Laurel Canyon Trail. I loved Laurel Canyon Trail. That trail is what a good local hike should be. It has some Oak Groves, rock formations, a legit trail instead of a fire road, a lot of green vegetation from our winter rain, and a rocky cliff canyon, which immediately after a heavy rain forms a waterfall. But no waterfall for our hike. I recommend this hike. It is a great local hike.
Heisler Park along the Pacific Ocean in Laguna Beach, California is one of my favorite urban hikes. It is so beautiful there, so serene, so charming. It is pretty much a botanical garden on the Pacific. Every time I am there I see artists trying to capture the essence of this magical setting.
The following pictures are of my hike this winter’s day. Winter’s day… I almost feel bad saying that, as a typical day in So Cal in the winter is much different than say were my daughter is studying at the University of Wisconsin where they have a low of -22. MINUS 22 can you believe that?! Well, it was very pleasantly in the low 70’s on this day at the beach in Laguna.
I have also combined some pictures of another day at this special place that I took in mid fall. You can tell where they start as the skies are a clear blue without so much of a whisper of a cloud.
I park in the neighborhood, a very well to do neighborhood I might add, just north of the park. Then I walk through the park enjoying nature, the ocean, the cliffs, the rocks, and the gardens that make up Heisler Park.
From there I head down the slope to Main Beach in Laguna. This beach is sort of like Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show. It is surreal, it is almost to perfect. It is the quintessential California kick back beach. Everything is just so cute and so quaint, from the small little lifeguard station, the wandering boardwalk, basketball court, viewing benches, kids play ground, lifeguard tower. It is, in a word, perfect.
I continue past Main Beach south viewing quaint little hotels, cliff side dining, and beach houses that range from kick back to wow I love it!
I walk as far as I can go without having to do a little rock scrambling, which I might have to do the next time to continue adding to my adventure. But this hike there and back, stopping for pictures, and checking out tide pools, so let’s call it strolling, is about 2 hours.