Those of us that live in Southern Cal are fortunate to have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to determining where to ride. On those blazing, hot days though, nothing beats a trip to the coast where the temperatures tend to be a bit lower. Crystal Cove State Park, located in the Newport Coast area, is one of those places. Crystal Cove is home to several classic rides such as Moro Canyon, Moro Ridge, Fence-line, Rattlesnake, and Emerald Canyon, just to name a few. This park can be accessed directly from PCH but we prefer to begin this loop from Ridge Park. Parking is free.
Distance: 10.33 mi
Avg Speed: 7.7 mph
Elevation Gain: 1,385 ft
Calories: 781 C
Avg Temperature: 63.5 °F
From the 55 freeway, catch the 73 south and exit Macarthur blvd. Stay on it for 2.4 miles. Make a left on San Joaquin Hills Rd and drive 2.6 miles until you get to Newport Coast Dr. Make a right and about a block down the street, make a left on Park Ridge. Go up about 1.5 miles and park. The trailhead is straight ahead.
Parking Info- I enter from Park Ridge where it’s free to park. If you enter from main gate at PCH, parking is like $10.
(hover over steps for images – some steps may not have images)
The trailhead begins at the end of Park Ridge. You will notice the Bommer trail ahead of you as it drops immediately. You will begin a short climb afterwards to the top of the hill. From there, it’s another descent to our destination, Moro Canyon Rd.
.92 miles- You will encounter a fork at approximately .92 miles where you will see a trail post. Although this is Moro Canyon Rd, it won’t specify it. Instead, it will let you know that Bommer continues straight ahead and Crystal Cove S.P. is to your right. GO RIGHT.
1.03 miles- you will pass a wood fence. A few yards after, make a right and begin your descent into Moro Canyon.
2.32 miles- make a right here. You will be coming into this turn pretty quick so make sure you go right, not straight. This section is probably the shadiest part of the trail, as most of it is exposed to the sun. Enjoy it while it lasts because it’s not very long!
3.78 miles- This is a 3 way cross-section and you are to continue straight on Moro Canyon. Up ahead to your left is “I think I Can” trail, which is a climb up to Moro Ridge. We will be doing the same, but not at this junction. Keep cranking and enjoy the easy ride through the Canyon.
4.83 miles- What comes down must go up right? At this point, you will notice a trail post and a singletrack on your left side. This is B.F.I. trail. Although the trail post does not indicate this is B.F.I., the map on the trail post will confirm that for you. Make a left here and start climbing. You will be afforded incredible views of the coast as you are making your way up B.F.I. The top section of this trail is extremely steep but thankfully, short lived.
5.16 miles- You will hit a gravel section at this point. Make a left and continue climbing. It’s not going to get any easier as the road goes up, and up, and up…. Expect to continue climbing for the next 3 plus miles. There will be some areas of reprieve and great scenery so make sure to soak it all in. You will also see several trails that shoot in from the right and left side but continue going straight on the road.
7.14 miles- At this fork, you will see the “Lower Moro Campground” sign towards the right. Stay on the right and continue your way for approximately 1 ½ miles to “Missing Link” trail.
8.54 miles- At this part of the trail, you will see an unmarked singletrack on your left. Don’t pass it up. This will take you to Missing link trail, one of the highlights of this ride.
8.65 miles- Missing link trail is straight ahead and immediately drops. There are some rocky sections on this trail, but nothing too complex. Both beginning to advanced riders can determine how gnarly you want this ride to be by adjusting your speed. Have fun as you make your way down this trail.
9.16 miles- continue along the fence on your right and keep going straight.
9.26 miles- Stay on singletrack as it veers towards the right. This is Fenceline trail. Cruise this trail for the next .40 miles.
9.66- On your right, you will notice a gate. Go right here and go through the gate back to Bommer.
Make a left on Bommer and make your way back up to the Park.