How does this work?
Crystal Cove State Park, California, United States

Crystal Cove Red Route

A moderate, 5.5 mile loop that takes you through canyon and up to Moro ridge, with sweeping coastal views.

Content
provided by
Viewed 38764 times
    This guide contains photos
 (1 vote)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 5.5 miles / 8.9 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
 
Overview: This trail begins and ends at the El Moro Visitor Center. This loop gives you a tour of the El Moro Canyon, then climbs over 800' in elevation to the ridge line, where you'll enjoy some of the best coastline views in the park.

Tips: There is no shade, so wear protective clothing and sunscreen. There is no water, except at the visitor center. Bring plenty. This hike has a substantial elevation gain and can get hot.

I prefer to hike this loop in reverse, going up "I Think I Can" hill and down El Moro Ridge.

Points of Interest

Building
map

El Moro Visitor Center

Get your $15 day use parking pass here. If you have an annual California State Park day use pass, you can use that instead.

Junction
map

Trailhead

The trail begins at the bottom of the El Moro parking lot. Take a left on the dirt path that parallels the fence line.

Note that construction is underway on a new drive-in campground due for completion in 2011.
Landmark
map

Bridge

Turn left and cross the bridge.
Junction
map

Turn right at the first trail

This trail is affectionately referred to as "BFI" -- sometimes politely referred to as Big Fat Incline. It's a steep uphill slog.
Junction
map

Bear left

Directly ahead you'll see the Laguna Beach homes in Emerald Bay. Bear left at the gravel road and follow it up the ridge.
Viewpoint
map

Viewpoint

Stop here to catch your breath and turn around to soak in the coastline views.
Junction
map

Utility Spur

Ignore the road to the right, as it is for utility access only. Bear left to continue up Moro Ridge.
Junction
map

Continue straight up Moro Ridge

The gravel road to the left is not a hiking trail.
Junction
map

Left on East Cut Across trail

Turn left at this junction, which takes you down the East Cut Across trail -- also known as "I Think I Can Hill."
Junction
map

Left on El Moro Canyon trail

At the bottom of the cut across trail, you turn left onto El Moro Canyon trail. This trail takes you back to the bridge you crossed. From there, retrace your steps to the El Moro Visitor Center.
Restroom
map

Restrooms

Pictures in this guide taken by: yourjayman, jeffhester, AnzaAnnie, rmceoin, cj5

Crystal Cove Red Route Trail Map


POIs: numbers | icons View large Trail Map

Have an iPhone or Android?

  • Map your route while you move
  • Add trip photos to your map instantly
  • Share trips right from your phone
  • Find and follow trips from other travelers

Available For:
iPhone | Android

About the Author

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

Crystal Cove Red Route 3 Day Forecast

Extended Forecast
How To Get There
Get directions from: