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Crystal Cove State Park, California, United States

Crystal Cove Blue Route

This strenuous 9.1 mile hike follows the perimeter of the park, giving you a grand tour of Crystal Cove backcountry.

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Difficulty: Difficult
Length: 9.1 miles / 14.6 km
Duration: Half day
 
Overview: The Blue Route is also aptly known as the perimeter of the park hike, since it forms a complete loop around the perimeter of Crystal Cove State Park backcountry.

This is a strenuous 9.1 mile hike with some good elevation gain and beautiful views over the Pacific and east toward Santiago and Modjeska Peaks.

This "grand tour" of Crystal Cove backcountry passes all three backcountry campgrounds and takes you up and down ridges and valleys.


Tips: The trails here are shared by hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and even the occasional horseback riders. Always follow the rules of the road and yield to riders.

This is a dry trail. Carry adequate water for the entire hike. Bring sunscreen. There is precious little shade, and none on the ridges which comprise the majority of this route.

Bring food to snack on -- this is a long hike. And keep a eye out for wildlife. There are rattlesnakes and mountain lions sometimes spotted.

Points of Interest

Junction
map

Beyond this gate begins your climb up the trail known as "No Dogs." It's a curious name for the trail, considering that no dogs are permitted on any of the trails in Crystal Cove State Park.
Junction
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[JCT] Bear left up the

Junction
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[JCT] Continue left up

Junction
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[JCT] Turn right down the

Ticketron is a single-track trail that winds down into wooded Deer Canyon.
Campground
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Deer Canyon Campground

There are a number of campsites here, all with picnic tables. These must be reserved through the Ranger Station. No fires are permitted.

This makes a great shady spot for a snack or lunch break.
Junction
map

[JCT] Bear left

The trail to the right is called Rattlesnake, and follows the ridge back down to the valley. It's especially popular with mountain bikers.

You will bear left here and continue up to the top of the ridge.
Junction
map

[JCT] Fenceline Trail

The single track Fenceline trail is popular with mountain bikers. Because of the twisty turns and blind corners, continue a bit further to the double-track Bommer Ridge trail.
Junction
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[JCT] Bommer Ridge

To reach the wide Bommer Ridge trail, you actually exit the state park boundary and enter the Laguna Coast Wilderness.

The Bommer Ridge trail parallels the Crystal Cove boundary until we reach Moro Ridge.
Junction
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[JCT] Bear left

Bear left at this junction and continue to follow Bommer Ridge.
Junction
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[JCT] Keep left

Junction
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[JCT] Moro Ridge Trail

Here you re-enter Crystal Cove State Park through the gate on your right.

You will follow the wide Moro Ridge trail up and down a series of roller-coaster hills toward the coast.
Campground
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Moro Campground

This is the first sign of the Upper Moro Campground. There are picnic tables and chemical toilets available.

As with the Deer Canyon Campground, no open flames are permitted.
Campground
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Lower Moro Campground

Further down the trail you'll reach Lower Moro Campground, the third and final backcountry campground at Crystal Cove State Beach.
Junction
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[JCT] Keep left

Continue straight ahead down the Moro Ridge trail.
Junction
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[JCT] Bear right

The Moro Ridge trail bends to the right here. The slight trail straight ahead is for utility access only.
Junction
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[JCT] Turn right

There is a trail marker here. Turn right and prepare to descend the trail locals call "BFI."
Junction
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[JCT] Turn left

The trail joins Moro Canyon. Turn left here and cross the bridge. You're almost back!
Junction
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[JCT] Back to the Visitor Center

You have returned to the parking lot. Turn right and finish the loop back at the El Moro Visitor Center.
Information
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El Moro Visitor Center

When open, this is where you can purchase a Day Use pass for parking. You will also find great information about the flora, fauna and history of Crystal Cove State Park.
Restroom
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Restroom

Pictures in this guide taken by: jeffhester, rmceoin, cj5
Reviews
willkeim
Great trail with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Trail was very well maintained with good signage.

Apparently all of the trails are shared with mountain bikers, most of whom are pretty rude, not looking ahead of what they're doing, and who all expect hikers to get out of their way, even on the slim, 1-person-width trails. If you want a pleasant hike, I'd go somewhere else where mountain biking is regulated. I spent most of the time listening for the sound of bicyclists and getting out of the way, rarely ever getting an "excuse me", "sorry", or "thank you."

Visited on Jan 19, 2013

by willkeim on Jan 20, 2013

Crystal Cove Blue Route Trail Map


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About the Author

jeffhester
jeffhester
20 guides
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I live in Southern California, where most people are completely unaware of the hundreds of great hiking...

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