El Moro Canyon Loop Trail

MODERATE 602 reviews
#1 of 28 trails in

El Moro Canyon Loop Trail is a 5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Laguna Beach, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
816 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

A trail that takes you through canyon and up to Moro ridge, with sweeping coastal views. The trail begins and ends at the El Moro Visitor Center. This loop gives you a tour of the El Moro Canyon, then climbs over 800' in elevation to the ridge line, where you'll enjoy some of the best coastline views in the park. Parking Fee: $15

hiking
3 days ago

It’s definitely pretty and the ocean views amazing. Lots of uphill though. Big disappointment in the description vs reality though. App says this trail boasts waterfalls, that is wrong. I chose it specifically for that reason and was quite disappointed to get there and hear there are no waterfalls as described.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful day on the hiking trails - Started on the No Dogs trail cut over to Ticketron to Fence Line to Slow and Easy to El Moro Canyon — 3.5 hours. Elevation climbed to ~1000ft., plenty of elevation variations but ending at El Moro trail is best because legs start to get tired. Definitely quieter on the Eastern side of the trails which is perfect! No snakes, whew! The $15 fee was a surprise but honestly it’s a very fair price to enjoy the hike and view.

hiking
1 month ago

Great, well maintained trails. The difficult trail is more, IMO, moderate. We find counter clockwise more strenuous then clockwise on this trail. Clockwise ends with a wonderful view of the ocean on your way down. Watch for snakes, look well ahead of you. We had one pass about 4 yards ahead of us.

hiking
1 month ago

We took the moderate path and loved it. Approx. 5 miles and it took us 90 minutes. The beginning was a good climb and then it got easier as we went along. Saw a few rabbits and baby snakes along the way. Nothing crazy though! Loved the views as you finish! Will only pay for 2 hours of parking next time.

1 month ago

Bugs... lots of bugs. Rare in California, but this place had them abundantly.... Nice views of the ocean.

hiking
2 months ago

Great place to hike!!!
We accidentally did the difficult course but was worth the reward at the end.
Warning for rattlesnakes. Some hikers reported one 30ft away from us on the trail but was gone by the time we arrived......phew!!!! Some narrow, sketchy areas on the tail end of the trail.

2 months ago

Some challenging grades at the beginning of the trail. Views of the ocean and Laguna Beach at the top were nice. Second half of trail not a lot to see but a nice peaceful walk. No shade so I’m guessing it can get pretty hot in the summer! Bring a hat!

hiking
2 months ago

Very fun hike! It wasn't too hard and there was a beautiful view of the beach at the end!

hiking
2 months ago

Love the hike (hate the $15 parking)

I have done this hike about 5 or 6 times. It is pretty easy to find. From PCH there is an entrance to the parking lot right by an elementary school (El Moro). There are 4 colored trails on the map to choose from. I have done all 3 except for the hardest one (the red). My favorite one is the yellow. It is marked as difficult but it isn't really that hard. RT is just under 5 miles and can be done in about 2 hrs. Be sure to go through the tunnel that goes under PCH and spend some time on the beach and the rocks. It is a beautiful place for pictures. The trails are well used but definitely not crowded and everyone is extremely friendly.

*this is more of a 4.5 star hike and would be a 5 if the parking was free or $5 or less

3 months ago

Good views, trail wide & well marked. Good for cooler days. Did it counter-clockwise, steep climb at the start, but glad we did it that direction.

3 months ago

Very nice trail. Good hiking surface. Nice views of the ocean. Expensive parking $15. Quiet. Nice to get a way from the noisy awful coastal highway.

3 months ago

It was such a beautiful hike! The only down part is that parking is $15 or I would be here every weekend

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome hike with different levels/paths to take. Parking is $15 and you can get a map to figure out which path to take (categorized by mile). Took the loop which is the second longest and moderate. Go early bc there is no shade. I started around 11am in Feb weather and it wasn't too bad, but summer weather would prob get really hot. Follow the instructions on the map and you'll finish with a nice beach view (start the loop clockwise). Fairly easy and def. made me want to the 9miles loop next time.

hiking
3 months ago

Wow! We opted for the 5 mile loop and added a climb on The Poles before descent to the parking lot. Super workout!

hiking
3 months ago

Nice views of the ocean. Plenty of incline to get in a great workout. Different route options to make your hike longer or shorter. And you can stop by the beach after your hike. Win win.

3 months ago

Good hike, but not a lot of trees. Good views of the ocean, but then not a lot else. Still, a good workout.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail for a clear day... one large hill but then fairly an easy climb down.

4 months ago

Beautiful ocean views. The first mile is all uphill so a little difficult. After that, it’s easy.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this Loop today with my 18 year old daughter and 12 year old son and I enjoyed it. My son struggled on a few of the inclines, but he was able to make it and felt good afterwards. We started north up El Moro Canyon and went clockwise. The ridge line at the top before descending had stunning views of the ocean about an hour before set. Not much shade like most of the other trails in Crystal Cove so bring sunscreen, hats and lots of water.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

A’lot of sun, wear a hat if possible! Good hike with great views of the Pacific on the way down .

hiking
4 months ago

Good trail. This was my first one, so it was interesting. Not a lot to see, except for the ocean once you get to the top! I will definitely do this one again, just early morning though, as it gets pretty hot out there since there isn’t too much coverage with trees, etc.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful on the Ridge

4 months ago

Great winter run. Probably brutal during summer heat. Some fantastic views of the canyon and LAGUNA and of course the pacific.

hiking
4 months ago

Great sunset hike, we went about 2 hours before scheduled sunset and it worked perfectly. Beautiful Pacific Ocean sunset.

hiking
4 months ago

camping
5 months ago

Did this as an overnight hike camping at Lower Moro Campground which is a short hike up the ridge trail from this loop. Started at 3:00pm and got to the campground just after 4:00pm. Enjoyed the views and enjoyed the sunset from our campsite. In the morning we hike down into the canyon to complete the loop. Great hike and given the time(s) we did it we did it the right direction. Camping costs an extra $10 on top of the $15 parking fee. Apparently it can be reserved but the spots at the campground are first come first served. Great place to camp out while close to home in the OC.

backpacking
5 months ago

Did this as an overnight hike camping at Lower Moro Campground which is a short hike up the ridge trail from this loop. Started at 3:00pm and got to the campground just after 4:00pm. Enjoyed the views and enjoyed the sunset from our campsite. In the morning we hike down into the canyon to complete the loop. Great hike and given the time(s) we did it we did it the right direction. Camping costs an extra $10 on top of the $15 parking fee. Apparently it can be reserved but the spots at the campground are first come first served. Great place to camp out while close to home in the OC.

hiking
5 months ago

There are actually several trails to choose from. Starting with 1 mile easy to 9 mile strenuous, and moderate options in between. A map at ranger station shows all the options and distances.
Parking is $15 for a day pass. No other costs to use the trails. There are bicyclists using the trails too so keep a watchful eye for the cyclists coming downhill.
Most of the trails are dirt roads. A few sections are single track. Nothing is technically challenging. Just lots of uphill and downhill hiking.
Very nice views of the ocean and coastal environment in natural state.
Recommend for the variety of hikes you can take from this one starting point and for the coastal views.

5 months ago

Nice hike. Go clockwise for the best views. $15 parking fee.

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