Tag Archives: Wilderness

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

Barbara’s Lake Loop

Dilley’s Preserve, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Activity: Day Hike

Date: July 10, 2019

Distance: 3 miles, 350′ elevation change, 1 hour duration, rated Easy

Dilley’s Preserve is named after an advocate for green belts and natural land set aside for the enjoyment of it’s residents.  This particular hike in Laguna Coast Wilderness I have to say is not my favorite.  It is cool to see a natural lake in a dry arid environment, after all Southern California is basically a desert on the beach, but it is not quite the soul searching place that I am seeking while “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure”.  It’s not that it doesn’t have nice trails, rolling hills, and nature because it does, but it also has a busy roadway that if it is not in view, is in earshot, except when you are down in the canyon area and the sound of the bees pollinating the flowers just about drowns out the traffic noise.

The hike is easy and starts out relatively flat until you get past the lake then you get the elevation change pretty quickly.  You are now moving away from the freeway, but you at once can see that the entire property boarders neighborhoods.  So in my view this is nice for the people in the nearby neighborhoods to have an area to stretch their legs, but there are better hikes in the Laguna Coast Wilderness.

This row of pictures show some of the various paths, some you need to watch your footing.

"Jobs fill your pockets but adventures fill your soul."
“Jobs fill your pockets but adventures fill your soul.”

Barbara's Lake Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ attempts to inspire your adventurous passions for nature and so that you can find balance in your life.  Join me next time for more adventure as we all seek balance.  Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, & SHARE, and hey check out the new ‘Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure’ apparel by clicking on Shop Apparel.

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

$Million$ Dollar View – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Boat Road/Boomer Ridge Trail/Emerald Canyon Loop

Activity: Day Hike

Date: July 7, 2019

Distance: 8.5 miles, 1,632’ elevation change, 4 hour duration, rated Moderate

This particular hike in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park was all about the view, location, location, location as they say in real estate.  This real estate has a million dollar view, with a striking vista of Main Beach in Laguna, but really all of Laguna and beyond.

I started my hike late in the morning and the summer air was cool in the 60’s due to the marine layer that burned of within an hour.  This whole area of different trails rambles through rolling hills and canyons.  They are all somewhat similar and they are all really nice.  But it is always fun taking a trail for the first time. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is a great place for a hike and as a training ground for other more strenuous hikes.

When I was researching what hike I wanted to do one site actually called this hike ”strenuous” and also pegged it at another thousand feet of elevation gain.  While this hike has some mileage to it and a couple fairly steep climbs it is definitely moderate.  I think some people measure all elevation gains not just from the low point to the high point, and this hike is different in that it has two different climbs and descents.

This whole area has great hikes, but Boat Road has a stunning view that makes it a must do.  Make sure that you take the little side trip to Spur Ridge, (refer to the trail map), which has great views and a commemorative bench to Joseph R. Sweany.  Sit down take a load off and take it all in before getting back on Boat Road and heading back down.  I guess it is boat road because I could see plenty of sailboats on the horizon, as well as motor yachts anchored in the coves.

The trail head for this hike is in a neighborhood at Gate 14.

The trails in this area are shared by hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers.  I have not seen any horses in this area.

The hike goes down into the canyon which is greener, and has some nice oaks and other trees to provide some shade which is a nice break from the full sun.

Boat Road Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure (40)

Nice shot of Laguna Beach’s Emerald Bay

Boat Road Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure (41)
Panoramic view of Laguna Beach: from Left to Right: Arch Bch Heights, Downtown, 3 Arch Bay, Treasure Isl, Sugarloaf Pt, Main Bch, Diver’s Cove, Shaws Cove, Crescent Bay, Abalone Pt.

Boat Road Pursuing Balance Thru Adventure (42)
The hills above Laguna Beach are a great place to be “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure.” Join me again soon and LIKE, FOLLOW, COMMENT, SHARE. Find your balance enjoy a little adventure! Ya’ just gotta love it! Roger Jenkins Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself” – Amelia Earhart

Little Sycamore Canyon & Serrano Ridge Loop

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Activity: Day Hike

Date June 24, 2019

Distance: 5 miles, elevation change 900’, duration 2.5 hours, rated Moderate

This was my second hike in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.  The trailhead is at the Nix Nature Center where parking is $3.  The nature center is nice, but we did not get to check it out as we had just enough time to get the hike in, but will spend some time soon.

The beach in June has a lot of marine layer thus the name “June Gloom”.  The trail is less than 6 miles away from Laguna Beach, 10-15 minutes by car, but it was far enough way to have bright sunshine for the hike, and close enough that it was a delightful 70 degrees.

I followed the trail map in a clockwise direction starting on Stage Coach Trail South.  I really liked the terrain, the rolling hills, the elevation change, and the scenery.  However, in my opinion the first portion of the hike was a disappointment in that all of this beautiful nature was disturbed by the two busy roadways that the Stage Coach Trail South borders.  I will say as the hike went on I got farther and farther from the sight and the noise of the highway and the bustling world I was attempting to escape.

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park has many connection trails so you can mix and match them to fit your needs.  Next time I visit I will most likely leave the Stage Coach Trail out of my mix.  It was nice, but when I go out into nature I like to see nature, just nature, and not busy thoroughfares.

I really enjoyed the rest of the trail and the coastal chaparral, shady oaks, hills and dales, and the views of distant mountains in one direction and the Pacific in another .  It was a wonderful hike, and it left me wanting for more.  There are more trails to explore and Laguna Coast Wilderness also connects to other wild areas that are not far off.

Please click on the pictures below.  They all have captions.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

-Mark Twain

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure