Crystal Cove State Park Hiking Guide: Moro Canyon

Ocean view from hiking trail in Crystal Cove State Park

Crystal Cove State Park Hiking Guide: Moro Canyon

This guide will take you through an ocean view hike in Crystal Cove State Park located in Orange County, California.

Crystal Cove is a State Park located in between Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, California. It is a popular area for hiking since it has awesome ocean views overlooking Laguna and Crystal Cove State Beach. On a clear day, you will also see Catalina Island, the Newport Beach Pier, and possibly the Huntington Beach Pier.

The park map has 4 different suggested trail routes (although there are more than just these options). I would like to show you one option that is fairly quick and easy (for a regular hiker), but enough to satisfy your hiking urge. Plus it has wonderful ocean views for half of the route!

This guide will take you through the hike that is considered the “Difficult Loop Trail” on the park map.

Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County, California

Know before you go:

Dogs are not allowed to hike in Crystal Cove.

In my opinion, the park’s trail rating is not appropriate for experienced hikers. The park considers this a difficult loop, but after completing this myself I would consider this an easy hike.

When to go: All year round!

Spring has very comfortable temps and is one of the best times of year to hike.

Summers are hot! Be sure to bring plenty of water.

Autumn is Santa Ana winds/fire season, so take care if there is fire weather in the area.

Winter rains could close trails, so check the park’s website for closures if it has recently rained.

Where to park: Moro Kiosk/Day Use Area or Visitor Center/Ranger Station

Parking Fee: $5 per hour with a $15 max

Type of Hike: Loop

Difficulty Level: Easy/Medium (in my opinion, however, the park rates this as difficult)

Time: about 2 hours

Length: Less than 5 miles

Elevation Gain: 827 est. feet

Trails to hike:

  1. Moro Canyon- 1 mile
  2. East Cut Across- 1.1 miles
  3. Moro Ridge- 1.6 miles
  4. B.F.I.- .1 miles

View the Park Map here.

Visit the Park’s Website for more information.

Ready to go hiking in Crystal Cove State Park?

Beginning of El More hike in Crystal Cove State Park
Entrance to Moro Canyon

Start on Moro Canyon

I found that the park does not clearly mark where the beginning of this trail is from the parking lot. I parked in the day-use area and started walking away from the ocean and eventually found the entrance to this trail, which starts with a bridge.

You will continue on this trail for about 1 mile, and once you reach East Cut Across turn right.

Hiking trail in Crystal Cove State Park
East Cut Across Trail

East Cut Across

This might be the hardest part of the route, but still nothing too difficult for a hiker. If this is your first time hiking or you are not in shape you might need to take a break along this trail since you will start climbing.

Moro Ridge Trail in Crystal Cove State Park
East Cut Across Trail meets Moro Ridge Trail

You will eventually reach a division on the trail for Moro Ridge. You can go left or right since both trails will meet again. Feel free to take a right since you will need to take a right again anyways once you reach Moro Ridge.

Overlooking Laguna Beach from Crystal Cove State Park hiking trail
View from Moro Ridge

Moro Ridge

You will continue climbing a little bit, but soon you will reach the peak and get a gorgeous panoramic view of the ocean! It was so clear on this day that I was actually able to see all the way to the Huntington Beach Pier!

From this point on you will have ocean views, so enjoy! This is a really nice sunset spot if you are able to make it at that time.

Once you start getting closer to the Pacific Coast Highway you will find the trail named B.F.I. Take a right here.

Overlooking Laguna Beach in Crystal Cove State Park
View from B.F.I. Trail


This is a very short trail that will lead you back to the day-use parking lot. There is one technical downhill area which is a little steep. You will cross a very small bridge before reaching the large bridge that you crossed in the beginning.

Bridge in Crystal Cove State Park
End of the Moro Canyon hike

I hope you enjoy this hike in Crystal Cove! Hikes such as this one are one of the many reasons why I love living in Orange County so much!

As always, let me know your comments or questions below! Thanks for reading!


How to Spend a Day in Crystal Cove State Park

Hiking Guide to Red Rock Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch


25 Essential Items for the Outdoorsy Girl

5 Reasons to Try the YogaClub Subscription Box

Women’s Guide for What to Wear Mountain Biking

Crystal Cove State Park Hiking Guide: Moro CanyonCrystal Cove State Park Hiking Guide: Moro Canyon

Related Posts

12 Awesome Laguna Beach Activities You Can Do for Free

12 Awesome Laguna Beach Activities You Can Do for Free

I fell in love with Laguna Beach from the moment I arrived in the OC. It’s a cute little town with gorgeous beaches, beautiful parks, tons of cute little boutique stores, and lots and lots of things to do. And a lot of the activities […]

7 Unique Outdoor Activities in Irvine, California

7 Unique Outdoor Activities in Irvine, California

You might not know it yet but Irvine, California, or “The Center of Orange County, California”, has a ton of outdoor activities. I mean miles and miles of outdoor fun! I live right next door and I am just now realizing exactly how many things […]

6 thoughts on “Crystal Cove State Park Hiking Guide: Moro Canyon”

  • I absolutely love this trail! It has some amazing views! I do always get confused on which trail I am trying to take to get to the top, this is super helpful!

  • Oh I love adding hikes to my to do list. I’m from Australia so we have lots of unique hikes in our national parks but I’ll be in north america soon so I’ll add to my list!

  • Thanks for the detailed trail description. I’m heading to Crystal Cove for the first time in a week and am super excited for hiking and kayaking. Your tip on the difficulty of the trail really helps, I’ve also found that trails are sometimes rated higher than I would think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.