Tag Archives: State Park

MOUNTAIN BIKING CRYSTAL COVE

CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK

NEWPORT COAST

Activity: Mountain Biking

This blog is mostly about hiking, there is not a lot of backpacking in Orange County, but there is a lot of mountain biking, so this post is about that. There is some great mountain biking in the OC and Crystal Cove is a super spot with about 24 miles or so of trails that range from beginner to expert.

Crystal Cove State Park is the county’s largest open space with 2,400 acres of wilderness and beach. It is available from 6 AM to Dusk.

Crystal Cove is basically a coastal canyon with splendid views from up top, as well as from the ridges. Phenomenal visions of the magical blue Pacific and sweet views of Catalina Island reward those ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure.’ On a clear day San Clemente Island juts out of the ocean as a pleasant surprise since you don’t always see it.

The Park’s vegetation is mostly coastal chaparral some of which is pretty dense other spots are dry and rugged. In the bottom of the deep canyon is a wonderful grove of oak to provide some nice shade to an otherwise pretty sunny place.

There are big broad double track fire road paths that gain and loose elevation almost like you were on a programmed piece of gym equipment, but you are out enjoying the environment for a natural workout. Mountain bikers will get a good thigh burn climbing, and on the long descending stretches will really blast off, but be cognizant of the many hikers.

There are not as many single track trails, but they are fun and will leave you with a grin from ear to ear, as you weave like a snake, (by the way, keep an eye peeled for rattlesnakes), through the chaparral. When you’re doing all of this weaving just make sure you lean to the inside especially when there is a patch of cactus to the outside.

Crystal Cove State Park has a good community of nature lovers. Other mountain bikers are happy to provide trail information. Hikers are generous to step off the trail and let a biker by. Hikers and bikers alike greet each other with a friendly smile and a wave.

The other day I was winding along single track and a more advanced rider caught me from behind. I felt the need to push it since he was right on my 6, but he made sure to let me know to take my time, be safe, and that it’s all good.

Crystal Cove is a fabulous place to feel like you are out in nature and provides a little taste of wilderness, especially when you are down in the canyon portion with hills all around. If you think about it- that is pretty special when you are pretty much smack dab in the thriving metropolis of Newport and Laguna Beach.

That being said, the weekends can get pretty busy as this is a popular spot and with the pandemic it seems that hiking and biking are now one of the favorite activities instead of crowded gyms.

A cool thing about this area is that you can easily connect it to other nearby wilderness parks such as Laguna Coast Wilderness, Boomer Canyon, and Irvine Open Space which would then give you a net work of more than 50 miles of trail.

Thanks for joining my sailing and mountain biking buddy Steve and I on our mountain biking adventures at Crystal Cove, fun times to be sure! What a place to spend a couple hours, and as often as possible. I did not talk about individual trails, but if you go back and look at ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure- Orange County Hiking“ and review posts that concern Crystal Cove you will find pictures and stories regarding individual routes: No Name Ridge/Mach One/Boomer Ridge is one such trek, No Name Ridge/No Dogs/Moro Canyon/W. Cut Across/Rattlesnake/Red Tail/Boomer Ridge is another, No Name Ridge/Ticketron/Deer Canyon/Red Tail Ridge/Boomer Ridge Loop is a variation with some other trails mixed in. You can see the whole idea is there are a lot of different trails at Crystal Cove so you can mix and match trails depending on the difficulty you are seeking as well as how long you would like to ride. Keep in mind they are from a hiking prospective, but most of the hiking trails are also mountain biking trails. Conversely some of the popular single track mountain biking sections you will find hikers on them.

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‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ seeks shelter from this crazy world of ours and some peace by experiencing soulful spots all over the West. Checkout the menu above for a compass pointing to Adventure. If you enjoyed this post then please LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Crystal Cove State Park

LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PARK

Activity: Hiking

Distance 8.5 miles, approximately 1,300’ elevation change, duration 4 hours, rated Moderate

Date: 12/16/19

NO NAME RIDGE/NO DOGS/MORO CANYON/W. CUT ACROSS/RATTLESNAKE/RED TAIL/BOMMER RIDGE

Wow, that is a crazy long name for a hike. I should just call it every trail on the East side of the park. Crystal Cove is a great place to hike with 2400 acres of undeveloped land and more than 15 miles of trails that encompasses every level. As I have done in this hike, you can really mix and match different trails to how long, how far, how hard of a hike that you desire. As a matter of a fact if you want a shorter version of this hike see another of my posts on Crystal Cove State Park. This is a great destination on it’s own, but it is one of the closest really good hikes near me and a great place to train for adventures elsewhere.

No Name Ridge Road and No Dogs Road are big broad trails with nice views from the top and on the way down from the baseball field and little park above, where you will find of plenty of free parking. As you make your way down this trail, which takes you to the bottom of the State Park, you will enjoy wonderful views of the deep blue Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island on the horizon. On a clear day, like I had on this hike, San Clemente Island will be visible as well. Once you are at the bottom of the park you wrap around and hook up with Moro Canyon Road. This is the middle and lowest portion of the canyon, where you will find some spots with a little shade. Be prepared that the majority of the park has very little shade, and bring sufficient water for your day. From Moro Canyon Rd you will take the West Cut Across to access Rattlesnake Trail, which will give you more of a nature feel as you transition from the big broad roads to more of a path and portions will be a little on the steep side. Pay attention as there are some cool rock formations about 3/4 of the way off to the left which will be marked with a little sign. Rattlesnake empties to Red Tail Road and on to Boomer Ridge Road that will take you back to the start of the hike.

Very fun hike.

“Hiking is like Chicken Soup for your Soul.” -Roger Jenkins
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure 

Hike, hike, hike… it’s good for you. So that you can continue to be “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ with me please take the time to FOLLOW, COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE. Check the menu above for so many splendid places you can set yourself free in. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Help yourself to a shirt or cap like mine at SHOP APPAREL.

See you out on the trail,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Crystal Cove State Park

No Name Ridge/Ticketron/Deer Canyon/Red Tail Ridge/Bommer Ridge Loop

South Coast Wilderness

Near Newport Beach

Activity: Day Hike

Date: October 2019

Distance: 3.7 miles, 583’ elevation change, 90 minute duration, rated Easy

Crystal Cove is my Goto hike. It is in close proximity to my home, it boasts stupendous blue Pacific and Catalina Island views, pleasant coastal canyons, rambling hills, oak tree groves infused with fairy-tale light, and a good amount of elevation change.

I have hiked all of the trails in Crystal Cove State Park and mountain biked on a bunch of them as well. The cool thing is with all the trails in this park you can really mix and match what you are up for that day. You can decide on how steep, how long, how much time, if you want to see the top, if you want to see the bottom, which has a great beach, the middle portion has a coastal canyon, wide trails or hardly a trail, and parts of the park are more remote than others. There are some very fun mountain bike runs, and there are some pretty hard ones as well.

Then if that is not exciting enough at the top of the park, which is where I usually launch from, is right where three different portions of the South Coast Wilderness come together: Crystal Cove State Park, City of Irvine Open Space Preserve, and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. So lots of choices.

The hike that I did was just what I was feeling for that Fall day. Not too long, not too short, not difficult, but there is one steep section that will get your heart pumping, scenic, and part of it is more remote. It goes from wide open broad fire road to single track with brush that is sometimes over groan, but most of the time the park keeps everything pretty ship shape. There is a smooth rock area that has a little opening which is fun to poke your head in. Something a little unusual. There are two spots in the park that can be camped at and Deer Canyon, which my hike took me past, is one of them. This could be a good place for a first time backpacking overnighted.

Crystal Cove State Park is a good playground for those who want to stretch their legs, get some fresh air in their lungs, and shake off the world for a little bit, and of course train for other outings. In other words it is a good spot to be ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.

Hiking is the answer. Who cares what the question is.

When you cannot get into the backcountry, to the fir trees, to the mountains, to the lonely desert, you still need to get somewhere, and local hikes that are still fun, enjoyable, with open space, and nature fit the bill. Besides if you aren’t doing smaller training hikes then those epic adventures are going to be rough. Thanks for joining me on such as hike at Crystal Cove State Park while ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. Now you should COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE, and FOLLOW. If you need hiking-adventure-workout-casual ware then I got just the place for you: SHOP APPAREL which is also how you can support this blog.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure