Sunday, August 3, 2014

Aliso Canyon Mentally Sensitive Trail

Hiked: 8/3/2014
Distance: 6.5 miles round trip on paved road and trail
Summit Elevation: 822' (high point)
Elevation Gain: 820'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.65
Round trip time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Recommended water: 48 oz.
Parking/Fees: $3 OC Parks parking lot or Free on Awma or Knollwood
Difficulty: Easy

This was probably the only official trail in the Aliso-Wood Canyon area I had not hiked. Legend has it the "Mentally Sensitive" trail was originally the "Environmentally Sensitive" trail until a reckless mountain biker broke "Environ" off the sign leaving "mentally". True or not, the trail is signed "Mentally Sensitive" now.

The most direct way to get to the trail is to descend from Moulton Meadows Park. I took the long way from the entrance to the canyon near Alicia Parkway. I parked on Knollwood by Wood Canyon Elementary School and followed the paved road into Aliso Canyon until I found the trail heading up a ridge on the right. The trail is well past the Wood Canyon junction, bypassing many of the more popular trails. Note that the road past Wood Canyon is only open to the public on weekends. It is closed during the week. I jogged part of the way to reduce the boredom. Most of the trail is rutted from mountain bike use. About half way up, there is a fence on the west side of the trail and a beat up section of trail above it that would be tough to ride on a bike. It gets a little steeper toward the top and spider webs before intersecting a dirt road on the ridge. With unseasonal fog and low clouds, there were zero views at the top so I just snapped the trailhead sign. The way back was unremarkable, dodging the waves of runners and bikes.

Start of the trail from the canyon

The fence about half way

Trail sign from the top, clouds obscuring all views

On the way back down

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