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Level: Intermediate
Length: 15 mi (24.1 km)
Surface: Other
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +869/ -832 ft
Total: 105 riders

Mountain Biking Crystal Cove State Park

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#125 of 1,003 mountain bike trails in California
#1,742 in the world

Crystal Cove State Park has 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of undeveloped woodland, which is popular for hiking and horseback riding. The offshore waters are designated as an underwater park. Crystal Cove is used by mountain bikers inland and scuba and skin divers underwater.

The 15-mile bicycle route described here includes most of the trails open for mountain biking inside the park.

From the TH, ride north on "No Dogs Trail," which becomes "No Name Ridge" (don't blame me, I didn't name the trails!).

At mile 1.37 turn right on "Mach One" trail (which is also the W. Cut Across). (Yes, you can get going way too fast down Mach One.)

At mile 2.0 take a brief right on El Moro Canyon then take the first left onto "I Think I Can Trail" (which is also the "E. Cut Across"). Don't assume the name "I Think I Can" is associated with a technical trail. It's just a long, drawn-out uphill double-track segment - great for doing hill intervals ifyou're in training.

At mile 3.2 the trail forks; stay left.

At mile 3.25 turn left on Moro Ridge. You will pass a campground entranced on your left part way up the ridge; stay right.

At mile 5.16 turn left onto the "Missing Link" singletrack. (Note: If you go straight you will connect to Bommer Ridge Road which you can use to connect to the trails in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.)

Go past the first downhill trail to your left ("Elevator") and take the second left ("Slow 'n Easy") at mile 5.84.

At mile 7.11 turn right down El Moro Canyon.

At mile 8.55 turn right up "Mach One." Yes, you've been here before, but you probably won't go as fast uphill.

At mile 9.18 turn right up "No Name Ridge."

At mile 9.96 turn right onto an easy-to-miss singletrack ("Ticketron/Deer
Canyon"). Go past the Deer Canyon campground and climb to the top of the ridge.

At mile 11.06 turn right onto Red Tail Ridge Trail (which will become the "Rattlesnake Trail"). This trail can get tight and overgrown and has an ugly, eroded and rocky descent with no good line to follow. If you are a gentleman mountain biker, you might consider turning left up Red Tail Ridge to Bommer Ridge Road and find another route down.

At mile 13.13 turn right onto "Mach One." Yes, you've been here before. Twice, in fact. Blow down the hill to vent your frustrations from Red Tail Ridge.

At mile 13.58 turn right onto El Moro Canyon Trail. Bear right and you will pop out on the road just south of the El Moro Visitor Center and parking lot.

At mile 15.25 you will complete the loop.

First added by norski on Apr 29, 2011. Last updated May 8, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Crystal Cove State Park is located off Pacific Coast Highway between Corona
del Mar and Laguna Beach. Turn inland off PCH at the El Morro School (just
south of the Reef Point Entrance) and park at the El Moro Visitor Center. The
TH is off the upper end of the parking lot.
System trails (14)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Laguna Beach, California

| 1 mi
Intermediate | 1 mi
Beginner | 3 mi
Intermediate | 1 mi

Rider questions

Q: Do i have to wear safety gear?
A: always wear safety gear. bashing your head or knee on a rock can end your MTB days for good so don't take the risk.

Add a review



    Reviewing El Moro Canyon:

    El Moro Canyon isn't one trail, it is a park with many trails. Most of the riding in El Moro is fireroad. In the summer it gets extremely hot due to a lack of trees. The beach is right there so you can stop and cool off.

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  • chilas

    Started at PCH by El Moro elementary school, work my way up and retuned using rattlesnake trail
    NOT for beginners for sure, take care of you are new to this trails and overall at the end of rattle snake trail, you can find yourself infront of heavy machines cutting Thru the mountain
    I almost got injured/killed by one of this beast
    Floral trails with little to non visibility more that 10/15 yards iand suddenly there was a big machine infront of me
    You can totally hear the heavy noise but you will think they are far away

    Be carefore out there this week and maybe next week too until they finish their tasks

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  • popluna
    Reviewing Rattlesnake:

    Starts pretty calm a nice climb then gets to some good flowy single-track into a double black diamond decent that was just so sick good fun riding with people after that you get into this narrow field of flowers bars wackin and its rutty kinda hard to see but its just so fun after that theres a large climb but all in all it was an awesome trail.

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  • cannondale cad2djoh

    For shear convenience this gets a 4 for anyone who lives in coastal Orange County hint hint okay I live HB off of pch. Other than that it's wide enough to share with hikers and worth a 3 loop for good workout. The grades are not steep either if your weak ass.

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  • Steve Granata

    Beautiful state park with rugged backcountry single track that drops into spectacular views of Laguna Beach and the Pacific. Trails are wide, well-marked, and in good condition. Plenty of room for the numerous bikers and hikers on weekends. Beware of significant elevation changes in certain portions of the park. The route I chose ascended - and then descended - nearly 1,000'' in a little over 1 linear mile. The climbs were gnarly and descents hair-raising! Study the topo map and choose your route carefully. Then have fun - the diverse terrain and coastal beauty of this park trumps all.

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  • RyanFPrice
    Reviewing Missing Link:

    This is a fun flowy singletrack as you travel east. The last little bit turns into a steep loose little climb. This is a beginner friendly trail as this is what I took my wife on when she was first beginning to ride.

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  • ArogantBstrd1

    Fairly good single trail if you look for it. There are a lot of unpaved fire roads in the area as well. Fun ride for the view. If you ride around enough or take a ride up the road a ways you can gain access to the Pelican Hill golf course. During the day you might get run off but if go towards the end of the day you can check it out. Just don't ride around on the greens.

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  • Eric Foltz
    Reviewing East Cut Across:

    AKA "I Think I Can" This is a good climb up to the ridge. Not too steep but it will get you breathing hard if you want.

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  • rickgaribay

    This is a very well managed trail network that sits just east of the Pacific and is bordered by the PCH.

    It requires a usage fee of $15 a day which you must pay regardless of how long you use the park but it gives you access to day camping, a semi-private beach and tons of trails.

    The trails are mostly fire roads but the elevation and exposure makes for a very good cardio challenge. I started on El Moro Canyon which is tame for about the first 1.5 miles but then includes some pretty severe climbs, most of which I was able to clean on my lowest gear but a couple that required me to dismount. As you climb Moro, there's an option to hang left on to Poles which is a severe climb to No Dogs which offers a friendly descent. I actually missed the turn off on the way up so ended up ascending about 3 miles and turned back as time got away from me being about an hour in. The descents were not very technical but the elevation and incline will definitely keep you on your toes and feathering your breaks- I believe Mach One made me consider larger rotors on my Epic.

    All in all a great park despite mostly fire roads but I hear there are some single track options as arteries to the main trail system.

    Next time I have a full day in SoCal, I'd love to make a day and do the full loop.

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  • swerverider
    Reviewing Slow ‘N Easy:

    My preferred climb out of El Moro Canyon which I like to take, yup, you guessed it, slow and easy. Although a longer ride up than East Cut Across, its easier and has nicer views.

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  • svishal

    Did rattlesnale trail on this. Single track for most part. A small section of the trail is rocky which is technical. And a small section is rutted but flat with about 2 feet width.

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  • swerverider
    Reviewing No Name Ridge:

    No Name Ridge Trail actually goes through two parks - depending on which end you start at. If you start from the north end, at Ridge Park/Trail marker post #9, you are in Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park. If however, you begin at the south end, near the Pacific Ocean, you're in Crystal Cove State Park.
    And just to add to the confusion, the park maps list the first 0.6 miles of the south end as "No Dogs" trail, when the first sign you see, says "No Name Ridge" trail. No Name begins as a long, slow climb, which then has a couple of steep climbs and descents, before a final, more drawn out climb to Ridge Park. The trail is mostly double track/fire road, although there's nothing too technical, it can get rutted, a little rocky and sandy/dusty, but mainly the climbs can give you a good workout - especially in the warmer summer weather.

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  • swerverider
    Reviewing B.F.I.:

    B.F.I. is apparently short for Big Fat Incline - which it is! However the views from the top of this short connecting single track of the ocean are spectacular

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  • swerverider
    Reviewing Rattlesnake:

    Rattlesnake Trail is a nice flowy singletrack. Starting from the top, after some ups and downs, there's a peak and then the trail starts descending. At this point the trail steepens and gets rutted and rocky for a short distance. After this the trail flattens out and widens to become fireroad.

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  • swerverider
    Reviewing Ticketron:

    Nice little single track (1.4 miles long), with a couple of switch backs on the SW end, a flatter section in the middle and a steep climb up to Red Tail Ridge on the NE end

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  • swerverider
    Reviewing Fence Line:

    Fence Line is a short (0.4 miles) but fun flowy single track. There are several blind corners, watch for other trail users - it is a multi use trail. As it connects directly to Missing Link you can double the fun!

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  • norski

    Great views from the tops of the ridges. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is right next door, so you can combine the two for many miles of coastal chaparral riding.

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