Aliso Peak from the saddle between Aliso Peak and Niguel Hill
Niguel Hill located in Laguna Beach is a very prominent hill in the Laguna Beach area. Located roughly a mile away from the ocean this summit has good views of the landmark Aliso Peak as well as many of the larger peaks towards the east including Santiago Peak, Old Baldy and San Gorgonio. Unfortunately this summit area as now a gated upper class residential area. Therefore you can make this peak a drive up but it not recommended.
Some of the local vegatation
You can of course take a road all the way to summit area, put your flashers on and take a bunch of pictures or you can choose the better much more scenic approach which is to take Valido Trail to the saddle between Aliso Peak and Niguel Hill. From there take the Niguel Hill trail cutoff up the ridge and as rises steeply to the beginning of the gated community. This cutoff that rises steeply up to the summit is by far the most part of the whole Niguel Hill area. From there stay on the trail all of the way to the Seaview park. If you are destined to hit the exact highest rock be sure to get into the bushes. Views on the summit are partially restricted due to the amount of thick bushes.
The view looking north from the top
There is also a park sign on the summit area naming the park Seaview Park as well as a number of other signs on the summit area naming many of the plant species on the summit. It should also be noted that that much of Niguel Hill is located in the Aliso and Canyonland Wilderness Park which is home a number of other hills in the region.
The views heading up Niguel Hill
VIA THE VALIDO TRAIL (THE RECOMMENDED WAY): From the Pacific Coast Highway in South Laguna Beach look for West Street on the east side of the road (3 miles south of downtown Laguna Beach). Take West Street roughly 100 yards to a road signed Valido Street (on Google this is listed as Paseo Del Sur but the sign on the street is Valido Street). Make a left here and 100 feet up a inclined dirt pull off with enough room for maybe two cars will be on your left.
FOR THOSE INCLINED TO DO THE DRIVE UP: (You are really missing the charms of this peak
FROM I-5: Take Crown Valley Parkway toward South Laguna. Make a right on Alicia Parkway. Then make a left on Pacific Island. Head up the hill until reaching Talavares. Make a right onto Talaveras and take all the way up until the near the gate to the community where parking will be on your right.
FROM THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY: Make a left onto Pacific Island and head up the hill. Once at Talaveras make a left and head to the gate. The park will be on your right hand side.
The trail beginnings!
Parking is very limited in an upper class residential area. No smoking on the trail. It is advised not to hike Aliso Peak after a rainstorm due to the very muddy nature of the trail.
A reminder that Park hours are posted up on Talveras Drive. Parking is legal before the gate but watch the parking signs
Camping is not allowed on Niguel Hill. This is an upper class urban residential area
External LinksThe best information on this summit and Seaview Park
General information on the peak