Hiking Crystal Cove via the Loop Trail

Loop Trail Trailhead - Search Nearby - 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.

Distance

5 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

740 ft Gain

Type

Loop

Activities

Chillin, Photography, Hiking

Beach
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Scenic

Nearby Lodging

From $60/night

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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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

Laguna Beach

Hike gorgeous ridgelines, play in the waves, or simply meander through the jaw-dropping coastline, Laguna Beach is a memorable destination for artists and adventurers alike. 

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Photograph the Pacific Coast Highway over Crystal Cove Beach

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