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Crystal Cove Red Route

A moderate, 5.5 mile loop that takes you through canyon and up to Moro ridge, with sweeping coastal views.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 5.5 miles
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... more »

Tips:  There is no shade, so wear protective clothing and sunscreen. There is no water, except at the visitor center. Bring plenty. This hike... more »

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Points of Interest

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Bridge

Turn left and cross the bridge.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Viewpoint

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

7. Utility Spur

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

8. Continue straight up Moro Ridge

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

9. 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."

10. 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.

11. Restrooms