Crystal Cove Park

ORANGE COUNTY, SIGHTSEEING RIDE, CRYSTAL COVE PARK Although a short route, this bike ride is definitely an all-day outing. The main path travels along bluffs that tower above the ocean while a number of gravel paths shoot off to offer panoramic views and closer looks at the unique environment. Bring a bike lock so you can hop off your bike when you like to explore the nooks and crannies of one area before riding to the next. Crystal Cove State Park sprawls across 2,391 spectacular acres of natural landscape with overwhelming views of the vast Pacific Ocean laid out before you. Swim and sunbathe on the beaches, explore tide pools or dive in the designated underwater park. The backcountry section of the park is the larger part and is famous for its epic mountain bike trails that pass through chaparral covered hillsides and steep canyons. Camping sites are also available in this section, reservations are required. This ride begins at the most southerly parking lot for sake of convenience, however, depending on how busy the park is, you may have to park at one of the other lots and this will work just as well. Something worth noting is that most of the trails that take you to the beach are very steep and really not safe for cyclists. Riding up them is almost impossible. These trails are marked “Beach Access” and it is best to walk bikes down the trail or lock the bikes up at the top and leave them behind. The park is a vast habitat for local flora and fauna. From the cliffs you will be able to spot migrating grey whales and giant pods of dolphins. Stately pelicans glide overhead, almost within reach, while nearby you will find roadrunners dashing after lizards. In the tide pools you will spot sea stars, anemones and the occasional seal passing by while the backcountry is home to bobcats, rattlesnakes and deer. FOOD AND DRINK Two excellent dining opportunities exist on this ride. First is Ruby’s Shake Shack with a commanding bluff top view of the ocean to the distant horizon. Nearby is the Beachcomber Café, located right on the beach amidst charming cottages built in the 1930s. ACCESS By bus, OCTA route 1 makes a stop near the Crystal Cove State Park entrance. By car, take Pacific Coast Highway to where it intersects with Reef Point Drive and turn right into Crystal Cove State Park. After paying, turn left and park in the most southerly lot.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
Ride Duration: Full day
Fitness Level: Low
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Estimated Distance: 9.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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