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Hikes In and Around Orange County

Red Tail and Rattlesnake Loop

  • 5.8 miles - Moderate Effort
  • 2-3 Hours (Total)
  • Expect to See Some Other Hikers
  • 1,000 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 1,010 feet
  • No Dogs Allowed

The Red Tail and Rattlesnake Loop is a fun and off-the-beaten path hike in Crystal Cove State Park that you can find me on every week. It offers incredible ocean views and a secluded single track through native wilderness, including endangered coastal sage scrub.

In this Guide:
  • Crystal Cove Free Parking
  • Hike Directions & Tips

Where is the Red Tail and Rattlesnake Loop?

Rattlesnake Ridge Trailhead Map
Unlike other hikes in Crystal Cove SP that require an entrance fee, this hike starts at a free entrance at the Pacific Ridge Trailhead by Coastal Peak Park.

Use this trailhead address:
Pacific Ridge Trailhead, Ridge Park Rd, Newport Beach, CA 92657

Parking is free.

Rattlesnake Ridge Trailhead Parking
The hike starts in the upper right. You can park along the street. The lower left circle is a bathroom with water refill.

Gear Recommendations

In the summer this hike can get very hot, and you'll want at least 1L of water. Otherwise this is a pretty straightforward shorter hike, wear fitness clothing or light hiking gear. I use trail runners on these dirt trails. Not all areas have cell service.

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 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can see my review here.
Gear Hoka Speedgoat 5
HOKA Speedgoat 5These are a great balance of comfort and performance. The high stack height leaves my feet feeling great after a hike.

Check out the complete list here.

Red Tail and Rattlesnake Loop Trail Maps

Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 6
The trail junctions in the park all have this handy map. The red circle / rivet are your current location.
Click Here To View

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

Hike Directions

Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 2
Make a right at the trailhead onto the Pacific Ridge Trail.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 3
Continue toward the ocean and enjoy the views.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 4
Keep straight at the trail junction with the Tickertron Trail. You're now officially in Crystal Cove State Park.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 5
At the next right, known as the West Cut Across, make the left. Older maps reference this as the Mach One trail.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 1
Shortly after the last turn, make the left onto the Rattlesnake Trail.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 7
There's an eroded trench, climb through or jump.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 8
At the top of the climb bear left. To the right the trail dead-ends.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 9
Follow the Rattlesnake Trail along the ridge.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 10
At the junction of the Tickertron Trail, keep straight. The trail name changes to Red Tail Ridge.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 11
At the end of the trail, make the left onto Bommer Ridge Trail.
Rattlesnake Trail Red Tail Hike 12
Shortly after that you'll return to the start.

Need More Info?

  • Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

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.