Surf and Turf, a Hiking tale


Hiking isn’t anything new for the adventurous. Trails crisscross through hills and mountains throughout the world to the delight of hikers. Some trails parallel coastlines but lack the challenge of the hills. In Southern California, lies a park that combines both hills and a beautiful beach. Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach is this location. The park allows camping, make your reservation early, but it is mostly visited for day use. Hikers and beach goers fill the small parking lots daily. This park has several trails that can be combined and lengthen your hike. Most of my visits, I start from the rear of the park and work my way to the beach, combining multiple trails, averaging about 10 miles for each hike without spending time at the beach.


Today, I decided to hike in the morning and spend the afternoon enjoying the beach. I decided to pay the $15 charge to park with in the park. I arrived early enough to get a parking spot near the tunnel that connected the park to the beach.


From here, I followed the El Moro Canyon Trail passing another parking lot used by hikers and then I took the No Dogs Trail. Here, the incline begins as you travel toward the interior of the park and up the trail. As you get further up the trail, you can see the Moro Canyon Trail below as it heads into the interior but don’t forget to look back.


You’ll get a great view of the ocean. I didn’t want the hike to be to long as the temperature was going to be high on this hot summer day.


So, I decided to take the Poles Trail toward the bottom of the canyon and to Moro Canyon Trail. From here, it was a short distance to E. Cut Across Trail that would take me up the parallel hillside. I worked my way up the hill, making a couple stops to catch my breath. The trails are exposed to the sun and it makes the hills a little more difficult. I reached the top and made a right turn on to Moro Ridge Trail that would lead back to the beach. I made my way along the trail and I could now feel the ocean breeze. As I got further along, I could now see the ocean.


This portion of the trail is the most picturesque portion of the park. You can see the ocean below and the coastline in the distance. The trail eventually makes a decent back towards the Moro Canyon Trail which took me back to the parking lot where I started my hike. I made it back to my car where I took a short rest and replaced my hiking gear for beach wear. There are restrooms near by where you can change and put on your swim wear.


Beach towel and umbrella in hand, I made my way to the tunnel. I forgot my sandals so I had to continue to use my hiking shoes. The cement was too hot to go bare foot. I made it through the tunnel and noticed the high number of people in this area. In the time of social distancing, I had to walk a little further along the beach to find an appropriate spot to spend time on the beach.


It was just a short five minute walk until I found this spot. I erected my umbrella and laid out my beach towel and took in the beach. It was therapeutic to just sit on the beach and enjoy the beauty of it. The sound of the waves also helped put me at ease. After a brisk hike and the stresses of the pandemic, this was definitely just what the doctor ordered. I didn’t have a single complaint on my mind, except for the cold water of the California coast. I have been to this park several times and I really don’t know why I never did this before.

This was another wonderful day during this stressful time. I definitely recommend a day of “surf and turf” if you can find a location to do so. I will definitely do this again before the summer ends.