Hiking Crystal Cove via the Loop Trail

Loop Trail Trailhead

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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RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 740 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Beach
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Crystal Cove

Avoid hiking this trail if it is blazing hot outside. No shade. But the view is worth the hike.

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!

Bring lots of water in summer months


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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