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Crystal Cove Green Route

A moderate 3 mile loop trail that begins and ends at the El Moro Visitor Center

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 2.9 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours

Overview :  The Green Route is a moderate, 2.9 mile loop hike through Crystal Cove State Park backcountry. The hike begins and ends at the El Moro... more »

Tips:  These are multi-use trails shared with mountain bikers and horses. Keep alert and follow the clearly posted rules of the road.

In... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Park at the El Moro Visitor Center

Stop in at the Visitor Center to pick up a day use parking pass ($15) and see exhibits, maps and information about the wildlife and plants native to Crystal Cove State Park.

2. Gate to

Pass around this gate and follow the wide gravel fire road. This trail is affectionately referred to as "No Dogs." It's an odd name, especially since dogs aren't allowed on any of the trails in the Crystal Cove backcountry.

3. No Dogs Trail

The trail climbs steadily up the ridge, warming you up quickly.

4. Valley View

As you climb up the ridge, the views of the valley and out to the ocean grow more beautiful. You get a great perspective on the size and scope of the park.

5. Bear right at this fork

To the left the trail continues up No Name Ridge, but bear right to head toward "Poles."

6. False Junction

You'll see what looks like a trail following the power poles. Skip this first downhill right. It's a dead end.

7. Poles Trail

The second right leads down a wide, steep trail roughly parallel with a series of power poles that give the trail its name.

When it's dry -- which is most of the time -- the loose dirt and gravel can make this steep pitch treacherous. Take your time and control your descent. Trekking poles would be really useful here.

8. Turn right onto Lower Moro Canyon

There are several trails that come together at this junction. Bear right and begin your descent through Lower Moro Canyon.

Notice how the vegetation has changed from the No Dogs trail, with dense brush and a tree-lined seasonal creek.

9. Continue straight

The trail to your left cuts up toward Moro Ridge. Ignore that spur and contine straight down Lower Moro Canyon.

10. Bridge crossing

Cross this bridge and wind your way to the right around the perimeter of the new parking area and campground (to open in 2011). You'll climb up and over a small hill and back to the El Moro parking lot.

11. El Moro Visitor Center

The loop begins and ends here at the visitor center.

12. Restrooms