The Aliso Loop Trail in Los Padres National Forest offers a moderately challenging workout with scenic views. This dirt pathway will take you along the Santa Ynez Canyon ridgeline and through Aliso Canyon. You can come here any time of year. If you visit in spring, you'll be able to see an array of wildflowers that include California poppies, fiesta flowers, fiddlenecks, and paintbrush. The forest also provides a home to hundreds of species of birds, fish, and mammals.
To access the Aliso Loop Trail, park in the lot at the Sage Hill Campground to access the trailhead. There are restrooms and drinking water available here. Start by taking the short connector pathway that leads to the loop. You'll cross over and back Aliso Creek on the way. When you get to the circular route, start to the right and head east above the Santa Ynez River. Enjoy looking down the canyon to the water. As you climb along the ridgeline, toward the Upper Oso Campground, you'll have stunning views of the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains. Just outside of the campsite, the pathway arcs back to the south and joins with the Aliso Interpretive Trail. Follow this section back to your car as you cross a meadow and descend a shale hill.
This puptacular area welcomes dogs and their owners as long as Fido stays on a leash. Make sure you fill your water bottle at the campground before starting on your trek. Keep the area clean by carrying bags to pack out any waste.
Take a family-friendly walk on the Aliso Loop Trail. The furrific route will take you along the cliffs that overlook the Santa Ynez River. On the return, the pathway leads through Aliso Canyon. You'll experience a variety of habitats on your trek as you walk along a stream and over ridges and hills.