Close this search box.

Hiking Moro Canyon, Moro Ridge and the BFI in Crystal Cove State Park

WP GPX Maps Error: GPX file not found! /home/runcloud/webapps/app-socalhiker/wp-content/uploads/587641.gpx


This loop is one of my favorite hiking trails in Crystal Cove State Park. At 5.5 miles and over 800′ of net vertical gain, this hike makes for a great workout. The length is about right to make it worth the trip, but won’t take all day. And the scenery is fantastic. The hike down Moro Ridge gives you some of the best coastal views in the park.

Trail Details
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 820 ft
When to go: Year round
The trail begins and ends at the El Moro Visitor Center. Parking requires either a day use parking pass (pay with your smartphone using the Passport Parking app) or an annual State Park day use pass.

The trail begins at the bottom of the parking lot. Take a left and follow the dirt trail that parallels the fence-line.

As the dusty trail winds down to the bottom of the hill, and you’ll turn left and cross the bridge. This is the El Moro Canyon trail.

At this point you have to chose which way to hike the loop. You can take the first right and hike up the trail known affectionately as “BFI“. Polite hikers will insist that this stands for Big “Fat” Incline, although I’ve heard more colorful options, and tend to agree with the latter.

I prefer to take this loop clockwise, continuing up El Moro Canyon and “I Think I Can“, then descending via El Moro Ridge and BFI. The choice is yours.

Continue up El Morro Canyon until you reach the second trail to the right. This is called East Cutoff Trail, or “I Think I Can.” It’s a long, uphill slog. Don’t be surprised if you encounter a few mountain bikers climbing slow-and-steady up this hill.

When you reach the top of the hill, bear right to head down El Moro Ridge back towards the coastline. During the spring, the hills are dotted with wildflowers. In the summer, keep your eyes peeled for rattlesnakes! I’ve also seen rabbits and deer (yes, there are deer back here!).

El Moro Ridge meanders toward the coast, eventually descending back down. You’ll get great views up and down the coastline from Laguna Beach to Newport Coast. As you see Pacific Coast Highway, watch for the trail marker on your right. This trail becomes BFI and leads you back down to El Moro Canyon just east of the bridge you crossed earlier.

From here, retrace your steps back to the visitor center.

Trail Map and Elevation Profile

Download file: 587641.gpx

Photo Gallery

Essential Crystal Cove State Park Resources

Share the Post:

Related Posts