The Salt Creek Trail, with more arms than an octopus, offers a variety of experiences for trail users of all types in Dana Point and Laguna Niguel. Featuring two sections, several branches and a mix of surfaces, the trail winds throughout the two communities, offering a scenic tour of the area.
The trail begins on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Salt Creek Beach Park in Dana Point and climbs up a coastal canyon, passing by a golf course and diving under the Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1) along the way. Next it climbs the west side of the Arroyo Salado with Salt Creek below. Views of the ocean unfold behind you with the canyon ahead and below.
Continuing inland, the trail crosses Niguel Road, where trail users are faced with a choice: continue north to travel along Niguel Road to a terminus in a neighborhood on Niguel Ranch Road, or travel east through San Juan Canyon to Chapparosa Community Park and an endpoint by a dog park on Golden Lantern Street. Popular Chapparosa Community Park features a variety of amenities, including a playground, picnic tables, basketball and volleyball courts, athletic fields, restrooms and drinking fountains.
A disconnected section of trail begins farther north on Crown Valley Parkway and skirts the edge of the Sulphur Creek Reservoir to end in Laguna Niguel Regional Park. Across from the park—an ideal fishing spot—pick up the Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail for a longer journey north or south along its namesake creek.
Parking for the Salt Creek Trail is available at Chapparosa Community Park (25191 Chapparosa Park Road) and Laguna Niguel Regional Park (28241 La Paz Road) in Laguna Niguel and at Salt Creek Beach Park (33333 S. Pacific Coast Highway) in Dana Point. Note that parking fees are charged at the latter two facilities.