Hiking Crystal Cove via the Loop Trail

Orange County Loop Trail Trailhead

Added by Mariya Dondonyan

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 35-740 feet
  • Time: 2 hours
  • One of the best coastal views in Newport
  • Four different hikes at different levels of difficulty
  • Great photo opportunities

The trail begins and ends at the El Moro Visitor Center. Parking requires either a $15 day use parking pass, which is available in the visitor center.

This hike we are focusing on is called the Difficult Loop Trail and it is the third most difficult trail the canyon offers. You take Moro Canyon, East Cut Across, Moro Ridge, then BFI. Maps are available at the ranger station.

On this trail, you first take a windy trail that gradually inclines from 35-740 feet in elevation. Once you hike to the top you're set to go down a steep, straight slope down back the mountain.

However, a great suggestion might be to take this trail backwards. Go straight up a difficult incline first, then easily make your way down the windy trail. This might be easier because tackling the hardest part first will give you enough energy to tackle through the challenge. Also, the journey back down will be easier on your knees going down the gradual incline.

When you've completed the hike, there is a trail on your way back down that directly leads to the beach. This is the best way to cool down, put your feet in the warm sand, take a dip in the water, and relax. You deserve it after this hike.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Running shoes
  • Workout clothes
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Sunblock/ hat/ sunglasses
  • Map
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Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

740 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Beach
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Scenic

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How to Get There

6 months ago

El Moro

Locals call this park El Moro. To save yourself the $15 parking fee, I like to access the park via the Ridge Park Entrance to Crystal Cove State Park on the opposite side of the park. Parking on the street is free, but can be crowded, especially on weekends. Arrive early to find parking. There's a multitude of trails to take, just bring a map. And also bring lots of water, it can get very hot in the canyon. I've seen rattlesnakes, coyotes, and bobcats here. Luckily no mountain loins though. Just be on the look out!

6 months ago

over 1 year ago

Bring lots of water in summer months

over 1 year ago

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