“A great 7.5 mile loop that tours the western side of the park.”
— John McKinney
Birding · Views · Wildflowers
This loop uses several trails to make an excellent tour of the western park of Crystal Cove State Park.
Need to Know
Crystal Cove State Park hours are 6 am to sunset.
Parking fees are $15 per vehicle daily. Other rates or discounts may apply, check with the park for details.
From the parking area head north on No Dogs Trail
, which becomes No Name Ridge
at the intersection of Poles Trail
. Ascend No Name Ridge
Trail, pausing to enjoy the views behind you as you climb. At about 2.3 miles you'll reach a signed intersection. Turn right to head down Ticketron Trail to Deer Canyon Campground at the bottom of Deer Canyon.
Ascend the other canyon wall to the intersection with Red Tail Ridge Trail
(left and heading north) and Rattlesnake Trail (right and heading south). Turn right to take Rattlesnake Trail south; this section of trail has amazing views of parks, hills and canyons up and down the coast. At about 4.4 miles the trail begins to descend back into Deer Canyon, quite steeply this time; at 5.5 miles take a left at the junction to head south on West Cut Across
Trail. This trail terminates at the intersection with Moro Canyon Trail
and Poles Trail
. Take a right onto Moro Canyon Trail
; careful not to take a sharp right onto Poles Trail
. Follow this main trail, which soon turns into a fire road, back to the visitor center and the parking lot.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store
Flora & Fauna
Black sage, monekyflowers, prickly pear cactus, lemonade berry, and deer week are abundant.
A variety of birds, including shorebirds, may be spotted.
History & Background
This backcountry hiking area was originally used as grazing land by Mission San Juan Capistrano. The land was bought by James Irvine in 1864, and continued to be grazed until 1979, when the state purchased it to convert to a park.