CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK
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.
Hey do you like the logo performance gear in my picture? Need a technical sports shirt, hat, or face gator? Then virtually bike on over to SHOP APPAREL.
‘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.
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure