Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Hike or bike oak-shaded El Moro Canyon in Orange County's Crystal Cove State Park.

Crystal Cove State Park preserves one of the last large, undisturbed parcels of open space along the Orange County coast. Besides containing a three-mile stretch of bluffs and ocean front, the park reaches back into the San Joaquin Hills to encompass the entire watershed of El Moro Canyon -- over four square miles of natural ravines, ridges, and marine-terrace formations. The entire area was swept by wildfire in October 1993, but intervening rainy years have promoted a vigorous regrowth of the vegetation. After a string of dry years, the current relatively wet spring season is already producing the best wildflower display seen hereabouts since 1997.

Upper El Moro Canyon is far and away the most beautiful attraction in the park's backcountry section, east of Pacific Coast Highway. On foot or by mountain bike, you may cruise by thickets of willow, toyon, elderberry, and sycamore, all brightly illuminated by the sun; then you plunge into cool, dark, cathedral-like recesses overhung by the massive limbs of live oaks. In one such recess, several shallow caves, adorned with ferns at their entrances, pock a sandstone outcrop next to the road. Before the establishment of the California missions, coast-dwelling Indians gathered acorns, seeds, and wild berries in this canyon. These foods, coupled with the abundant marine life nearby, provided a balanced and healthy diet.

To get to El Moro Canyon by the shortest route, start at the park's visitors' center, located off Pacific Coast Highway about two miles north of Laguna Beach. A $5 fee is charged for parking there. Take the trail leading from the parking-lot entrance southwest across a grassy flat and down into shallow El Moro Canyon, alongside a trailer park that will soon be converted into a drive-in campground for the state park.

When you reach the El Moro Canyon bottom, turn left and walk uphill on a mostly easy gradient. Other trails intersect left and right; you simply stay in the canyon bottom. At a point about three miles up the canyon, the canyon-bottom trail, now called the East Loop, leaves the lushness of the canyon floor and starts climbing very sharply to a ridge above. This is a good spot to turn around and head back the way you came -- the easy way. Should you wish to extend your hike or bike ride, you can loop north and return to your starting point using any of several ridge-running trails.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Three poems for August by Dorothy Parker

With an acidic wit and keen eye for flawed humanity
Next Article

Corner Chicken spices up East Village

Tajima team embraces San Diego’s hot chicken moment

Crystal Cove State Park preserves one of the last large, undisturbed parcels of open space along the Orange County coast. Besides containing a three-mile stretch of bluffs and ocean front, the park reaches back into the San Joaquin Hills to encompass the entire watershed of El Moro Canyon -- over four square miles of natural ravines, ridges, and marine-terrace formations. The entire area was swept by wildfire in October 1993, but intervening rainy years have promoted a vigorous regrowth of the vegetation. After a string of dry years, the current relatively wet spring season is already producing the best wildflower display seen hereabouts since 1997.

Upper El Moro Canyon is far and away the most beautiful attraction in the park's backcountry section, east of Pacific Coast Highway. On foot or by mountain bike, you may cruise by thickets of willow, toyon, elderberry, and sycamore, all brightly illuminated by the sun; then you plunge into cool, dark, cathedral-like recesses overhung by the massive limbs of live oaks. In one such recess, several shallow caves, adorned with ferns at their entrances, pock a sandstone outcrop next to the road. Before the establishment of the California missions, coast-dwelling Indians gathered acorns, seeds, and wild berries in this canyon. These foods, coupled with the abundant marine life nearby, provided a balanced and healthy diet.

To get to El Moro Canyon by the shortest route, start at the park's visitors' center, located off Pacific Coast Highway about two miles north of Laguna Beach. A $5 fee is charged for parking there. Take the trail leading from the parking-lot entrance southwest across a grassy flat and down into shallow El Moro Canyon, alongside a trailer park that will soon be converted into a drive-in campground for the state park.

When you reach the El Moro Canyon bottom, turn left and walk uphill on a mostly easy gradient. Other trails intersect left and right; you simply stay in the canyon bottom. At a point about three miles up the canyon, the canyon-bottom trail, now called the East Loop, leaves the lushness of the canyon floor and starts climbing very sharply to a ridge above. This is a good spot to turn around and head back the way you came -- the easy way. Should you wish to extend your hike or bike ride, you can loop north and return to your starting point using any of several ridge-running trails.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Alison Tummond: preventing summer’s silent killer

“Anytime you have a pool, or a bathtub, or a toilet, or a bucket, a child can drown.”
Next Article

Pandemic dating smalltalk

Stop talking about current events to the extent they concern public health in any way shape or form whatsoever
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close