El Moro Canyon Loop Trail Featured
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Hikes In and Around Orange County

El Moro Canyon Loop Trail

  • 4.2 miles - Moderate Effort
  • 1.5-2 Hours (Total)
  • Expect to See Some Other Hikers
  • 720 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 720 feet
  • No Dogs Allowed

The El Moro Canyon Loop Trail might be the perfect hike in Crystal Cove State Park. It's not too long, offers a bit of climbing, and showcases the incredible ocean views that Crystal Cove is famous for. My version of the hike offers the easiest parking and cuts off a section along the road.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions
  • Best Place to Park
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations

Where is El Moro Canyon?

El Moro Canyon Hike Map
Crystal Cove State Park is located about an hour south of Los Angeles in Orange County, CA.
El Moro Canyon Hike Parking
When you drive in, go toward the campground and then past it to the trail parking lot.
El Moro Canyon Hike Parking 1
Once you drive in and pass the school, you'll see a turn on the left for the ranger station. Stay straight.
El Moro Canyon Hike Parking 2
Pay your fee at the booth and then follow signs for trail parking.
El Moro Canyon Hike Parking 3
The parking lot is massive.
Moro Canyon Hike Start
The hike starts at the end of the parking lot.

Gear Recommendations

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2Hit SOS or just tell loved ones that you're running late where your cell phone has no service.  Review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The best hiking footwear I've ever owned. No blisters. Get them wet, they dry quickly. Lots of cushion and comfort.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProHiking maps, route info, and fitness stats on my wrist. Review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26Lightweight, carries all your gear, and your back doesn't get sweaty. Oh yea, it's also one of the most inexpensive packs you can get.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated July 2024)

El Moro Canyon Trail Maps

El Moro Canyon Hike Trail Maps
Each trail junction has a map like this, with your current position marked with a red circle.
Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

El Moro Canyon Loop Hike Directions

El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 1
Start the hike just past the trail board at the end of the parking lot. Go straight across the bridge.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 2
Once you cross the bridge go straight, ignoring the trail back to the right.
Moro Canyon Directions 99
And then hike straight past the BFI trail junction.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 4
The Moro Canyon Trail climbs gently for about a mile.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 5
At about 1 mile, make the right onto the East Cut Across Trail.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 6
This is the one climb on the hike. It's challenging but steady.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 7
At about 2.1 miles at the top of the climb, bear right.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 8
And then stay right on the Moro Ridge Trail. It's all downhill from here.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 10
Enjoy the ocean views.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 9
Bear right at the utility trail spit and stay on Moro Ridge.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 11
Towards the bottom of the descent, make the right onto the BFI trail and continue downhill.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 12
At the bottom of the climb, you come back out on the trail where we started at the bridge. Make the left.
El Moro Canyon Loop Hike 13
And then you're back at the parking lot. That's the hike.

Need More Info?

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.