Photos and story by Ron Chilcote
Through the heart of the Laguna wilderness runs Laguna Canyon Road. Historically a major access to Laguna Beach, it was originally dirt and gravel and later a paved, twisting two- and three-lane road through the canyon. Now it is two lanes each way, and separated by barriers and space to look like a rural road. It runs nine miles from the freeways to the ocean.
The rerouting of Laguna Canyon to the north of the lakes permitted Barbara’s Lake to be reconnected to what was once known as Lake No. 2. This lake is accessible from the Nix Center, the primary entry way into the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The realignment provides numerous wildlife under-crossings and gets the road out of the wetlands. To the south of the realigned canyon road is a beautiful vernal lake from which one can sometimes see the San Gabriel Mountain range and Mt. Baldy in the distance.