Crystal Cove State Park’s rolling surf, wide sandy beaches, tide pools, gently sloping hills, and deeply wooded canyons and ridges provide a delightful contrast to its urban surroundings. Located off busy Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove is one of Orange County’s largest remaining examples of open space and natural seashore. The Crystal Cove Historic District is a 12.3-acre coastal portion of the 2,791-acre Crystal Cove State Park. The federally listed Historic District is an enclave of 46 vintage rustic coastal cottages originally built in the 1920s and 1930s nestled around the mouth of Los Trancos Creek. It is one of the last remaining examples of early 20th century Southern California coastal development. The park features three miles of Pacific coastline, plus wooded canyons, open bluffs, and offshore waters designated as an underwater park. Crystal Cove is not just used by people who enjoy water related activities, such as swimming, surfing, sunbathing, scuba and skin diving, but also people who like to fish, mountain bike and hike. The great expanse upland, north and east of the Pacific Coast Highway is for hikers, who can follow hillside and canyon trails to campsites that allow visitors to feel they are "away from it all," despite being near one of the greatest population centers in the United States. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park. The park is open from 6am to sunset. No pets allowed.
It was a very hot day, so the weather made this hike very difficult, but at the same time, Really fun! It pushed me to my limits in terms of the steep uphill challenges. This is a good hike if you want to take your time, see some beautiful views and really just be with nature for a couple hours. We discovered the little cave and that was so nice to just relax in, in the middle of our hike. Remember to bring lots of water. I'd do this trail again! I'd have to say, the BEST PART is that it's only STEPS away from the beach and you can just take your hiking shoes off, throw your flip flops on and in 2 minutes your feet are in the sand and it's such a relaxing way to end the day!
Definitely some steep stretches along the way, but I started at the top by Ridge Park Rd (free to park up there as opposed to the $15 parking at the state park) and reaching the ocean view at the south end of the trail was so rewarding! I would definitely recommend bringing a hat and lots of water; I hiked this in the early afternoon and there was no shade to be found on the trail.