Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
915.00 ft (278.89 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
4.80 mi (7.72 km)
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El Moro Ridge Loop is a loop hike of just under 5 miles beginning at the Crystal Cove State Park Ranger Station and Visitor Center. The hike makes use of several of the park's network of backcountry trails, taking hikers into the rugged interior of the park before returning them, all with views overlooking the near Newport and Laguna Beach coastlines.

The hike ascends from the parking area, following No Name Ridge on a wide dirt trail. Reaching 500 feet in elevation, the ranger station soon disappears, and the vast network of peaks and trails in the park's interior make themselves visible. The park has done a great job of posting maps at most trail junctions, allowing hikers to see where they are and plan their hike on the interconnecting paths throughout the park.

A steep drop leads down to El Moro Canyon, before another climb to an elevation of about 725' puts hikers along El Moro Ridge.

Prickly pear, fennel, chaparral line the arid peaks. From El Moro Ridge, the trail emerges from the interior to a coastal breeze and views in either direction along the coastline, with Laguna Beach to the south and Newport Beach to the north. A final descent passes the Berns Environmental Study Loop, a short trail with interpretive signs about the area's flora and fauna, and the Crystal Cove State Park Campground, before ending at the southern end of the ranger station parking lot.

While it is possible to do this hike in either direction, following this loop in a clockwise direction will make the ascents a little easier and save the big ocean views for the final descent.

Parking, water, bathrooms, trash, and a small interpretive center are all available at the ranger station.

Crystal Cove State Park has a day use fee of $15 per vehicle. The park and all trails close daily at sunset.

For complete park information and rules, visit the Crystal Cove State Park website.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall
Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Day use fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Access to other trails. Views.

Cons

No shade.

Trailhead Elevation

170.00 ft (51.82 m)

Highest point

725.00 ft (220.98 m)

Features

Wildlife
Big vistas
Flushing toilets
Potable water

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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