Crystal Cove Perimeter Loop

HARD 343 reviews
#2 of 28 trails in

Crystal Cove Perimeter Loop is a 9.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Laguna Beach, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

9.4 miles
1354 feet




mountain biking

nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


no dogs

This is a serious hike with some good elevation gain that follows the perimeter of the park and provides beautiful views over the Pacific and east toward Santiago and Modjeska Peaks. This "grand tour" of Crystal Cove backcountry passes all three backcountry campgrounds and takes you up and down ridges and valleys. It's $15 to park.

7 days ago

A great hike! At the beginning it felt crowded but it got better the deeper you went into the park. Not as many flowers as you’d like due to dryness. I didn’t love all the mountain bikers on some trails. Not all of them were careful to warn you about them flying around the corner

9 days ago

Hiked from Ridge Park Trailhead to avoid paying $15 parking fee at Crystal Cove Visitor's Center parking lot. I completed the loop in clockwise direction and added in approximately 3 mile out and back hike on the beach via the underground tunnel under PCH. I had to take off my boots to wade through the tunnel which had 12"-18" of water in the tunnel. Did not see many wildflowers today. It is really starting to look dried out since there was so little rain this winter. An enjoyable hike. Not a lot of people or bikes on the trail but it was a weekday.

17 days ago

Intense but super fun! Best one in OC so far.

20 days ago

Man was this a work out. We chose to counter-clockwise and ascend the BFI. That was a challenge, but once we got past that it was a relatively moderate hike.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get much rain this winter, so it was a little on the dry side, but the wild flowers were blooming, and the rest of the scenery was still nice (can’t beat those views of the coast).

We did encounter a rattlesnake on fence-line trail, but it never got close enough to be a threat.

Would definitely do again, preferably after it rains

21 days ago

great hike right next the coast.

2 months ago

This was a great hike today especially after the rain.. If your looking to get a great workout in with some strenuous hills and open trails then this is the one to do. I actually used Strava to range the hike and it came out to to just over 9.5 miles. If you do the whole loop like I did then you will be very satisfied with it especially when the day is nice and it makes for great pictures when your along the PCH ridges.. El Moro Loop has some great views that overlook the ocean and you get some fresh air for sure.. The trail was very quite and peaceful, so if your looking to get away and decompress then this would be ideal. I will definitely do this trail again and maybe get a trail run the next time around!

3 months ago

So beautiful! Surprisingly steep areas, it takes a little practice not getting deviated on the paths. The map feature is priceless!

3 months ago

Great trail! It was a good cool day. Make sure you have plenty of water and some light snacks if you do the whole loop

4 months ago

Views were gorgeous on this trail offering a sense of escape from the city life. Aside from this trail being a longer trail, I’m not sure how it’s ranked as hard. Trail was well paved and flat for the most part. Would definitely go back and run the loop next time.

4 months ago

We had a great day with not a cloud in the sky to hike the perimeter loop. It wasn’t too strenuous. Great views out to Catalina once got to higher altitude. Trail is extremely well marked. Lots of mountain bikers and a few runners on the trail.

4 months ago

Parking at the coastal peak park is free...(Ridge Park road )

6 months ago

Be sure to take rattlesnake trail.

7 months ago

I have done this look a couple of times. I mainly went with full gear to train for the Trans Catalina trail. Of the three campgrounds, I will only stay at one, the Lower Morro. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because it is super busy. There are constant people and bikes; when I hike, I prefer a little more quiet. The location is beautiful though.

8 months ago

This was definitely a good trail to experience. The level of difficulty should not be underestimated, however, I feel the challenge aspect depends on which trail you plan on hiking. They offer a map with the level of difficulty for the trail based on how long of a hike you plan on attempting. My friends and I chose the most difficult one and it was definitely 10 miles. We enjoyed the different change of scenery throughout the hike and being close to the beach kept a nice breeze on us for the day. It's a great trail!

8 months ago

Finished this one earlier today. I didn't have time to do the whole perimeter but there are several options to shorten the hike if necessary. It was hot and there's really no shade so be prepared for that. Also be prepared for quick steep climbs followed by long flat stretches. I recommend finishing the hike with a walk along the beach... Especially on a hot day. I wish I brought my bathing suit and a towel because the water looked very welcoming after sweating all day.

8 months ago

Note to self: Come earlier, before the heat. Bring more water, electrolytes. If you are not an avid hiker in moderate shape plan on spending over 3 hours on this trail. (9.3 miles). It's also a really fun way to get in shape while enjoying the outdoors. Once you're down the hill consider heading over to the beach since you're right across the street. Lastly, for me it was a challenging trail which I really enjoyed and I'm looking forward to returning soon. Happy Hiking!

9 months ago

Beautiful place, perfect for enjoying glorious sunsets.

10 months ago

one of my favorites. so easy, do this then go to the beach, then Afters for ice cream. it'll be the best day.

10 months ago

This hike is one of the most difficult in all of the state park. I recommend starting early in the morning to get a head start. It has some of the best views of the SoCal coastline and of the canyon. There are some strenuous up hills in this hike so I do not recommend this hike if it is your first time at crystal cove or if your not an active backpacker.

10 months ago

One of thinnest trails I've been on. Very rewarding but also very challenging parts.

10 months ago


Saturday, May 27, 2017

awesome and hard

Saturday, May 27, 2017

a good hike for conditioning. has some views over looking the shore through out.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Crystal Cove perimeter loop is a great, moderate to difficult hike in the beautiful Crystal Cove State Park. The trail is well marked and there are quite a few people hiking and biking here, especially on weekends. On a clear day, you'll be rewarded with beautiful view of the ocean. Be careful of mountain bikers going down. Beware of snakes. I saw a little one crossing the trail.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

great hike and very well trailed. there are places that lead to other trails but there are signs. We did almost 11 miles
beautiful views of the oceon and Catalina island. very steep in some areas

Monday, April 24, 2017

Great inclines. Beautiful views as you get close to ocean. Restrooms along the way and very clean. Parts of it go flat for a long time. Next time I want to try one of the more challenging trails.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A good hike if your looking for hills

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Great hike if you're practicing with long distances!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Gorgeous trail! The weather was breezy, around 67 degrees. I have an off tan now but definitely worth the run. Locals were very friendly! I will be back soon

Monday, April 10, 2017

It can sometimes be confusing to keep track of which trail you're on (even tho there are many maps) as there are a lot of trail forks and different route options. starts out with a big incline and then plateaus for a long time before steep decline. Decent bathroom available at info center. $15 parking fee.
We enjoyed the trail in early April and the wild mustard was incredible. As tall as mature corn stalks! Oh. This trail should NOT be rated "difficult."

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