A Journey Through Crystal Cove

The Most Breathtaking Hike in Orange County

If you take a drive down Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County you are certain to be left in awe by a little strip of coastline that is uncluttered by infrastructure. Nestled between the touristic destination of Laguna Beach and the small beach town Corona Del Mar, lies Crystal Cove. Crystal Cove State Park is a 3.5 mile stretch of natural beauty uninhibited by its urban surroundings. The park contains several campgrounds and wonderful hiking trails.

We decided to take a journey of the entire park and really experience its majestic peaks and valleys. The Crystal Cove Red Route is a difficult hike that takes you on a 9.2 mile trek around the Crystal Cove State Park. It’s highest elevation is 1,600 feet which is an arduous climb, but once you turn to glance at the view a deep calm sets in and you forget the struggle to reach the top. The first part of the hike is the most laborious as you scale the Crystal Cove mountain side, however, once you reach the peak, the land levels out and you gain a bird’s eye view of the breathtaking landscape.

When you gaze out onto the ocean with the sun glistening on its surface, then look back to the hillside replete with unique foliage and adorable creatures you come to understand why people are willing to pay absurd amounts of money to have a front row seat in this spectacular location. The view is simply priceless.

There are many intersecting trails in this region, thus, it is important to have a reliable guide to follow in order to complete the route and end your journey back where you began. We referenced an article written by “The Hiking Guy” on his website: hikingguy.com. His article is an invaluable source of information for all things hiking including what to bring, where to go, and more. The article he wrote for the Crystal Cove Red Route trail provided turn by turn trail directions with descriptive captions along with photos. We highly recommend visiting his site for any questions you may have with regards to hiking.

If you are looking for a challenging and picturesque hike in Orange County, this hike is the one for you! It challenges you with lofty inclines, then rewards you with astounding views similar to the way in which we all tend to experience life.

“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”


Inside Scoop:

  • Furry friends not welcome on this hike 😦
  • Parking Fee ($15 for 3 hours)
  • Allow 3-4 hours to complete (or up to 6 if you are not an avid hiker)
  • Portable restrooms available along trail

Enjoy the climb, but relish the view!

Kat + Alex ~


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