Trails to Trudge: El Moro Canyon Loop

During the last year and a half, I’ve trudged trails all the way up the California coast and even some in Oregon and Nevada.  Eventually, I’d like to see the entire Pacific Northwest but I realized upon my return that I had been forgetting one critical area of exploration untouched: my own home.  Living in Southern California offers so many opportunities for outdoor adventures.  The Angeles National Forest is in my backyard and Silverado Canyon is a 20 minute drive away but of course, what California is most known for are it’s beaches.  I had heard of Crystal Cove State Park/El Moro Canyon through my friends but I had never been myself…that was about to change.


  • Length: about 5 miles out and back
  • Terrain: very easy dirt road but contains quite a bit of incline
  • Payoff: ocean views near Laguna Beach and a nice leisurely walk


The day I chose to hike started off pretty grey and overcast but that didn’t sour my mood as I set off down the trail…


The hike itself was peaceful, the trail was pretty empty and the views were gorgeous.  Although I was traveling uphill, I didn’t feel any discomfort.  I was perfectly at ease.  As I got higher in elevation, the sun began to peek it’s way out just in time as my trail began to wind closer to the ocean…


As the trail began to follow the shoreline, I took a moment to look out into the ocean and the beautiful scene in front of me…


It’s easy to take for granted the moments of natural beauty that are in front of us especially living in the rat race that Southern California can be sometimes.  Crystal Cove State Park is an embodiment of that natural beauty.  Surrounded by the industrialized machinations of the business world around it, nature simply fits wherever it can… just like water.  I had probably driven past Crystal Cove dozens if not hundreds of times without even realizing it was there.  Until I stopped to get out and live in it and observe it is when I realized how absurd it was that I had never been here.  A little pocket of paradise smashed between million dollar mansions and the Pacific Coast Highway.  After my hike, the weather had improved dramatically. Luckily, I was wearing my bathing suit underneath my hiking shorts.  So I went straight down to the beach for a swim… passing through a tunnel running right beneath the highway 1.  As Ice Cube would say, “it was a good day.”


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