TIP: The spread-out and secluded campsites at inland-facing Upper Moro campground (just over a half-mile beyond Lower Moro) offer views of the El Toro Mountains. Or, on the northwestern end of the park, you can find Crystal Cove’s remote and shaded Deer Canyon tent sites.
The backcountry trails and campgrounds at Crystal Cove State Park close after heavy rain. They are currently closed but should open by the end of the week. The park’s backcountry trailhead is located behind El Moro Elementary School (8681 North Coast Hwy.) in Laguna Beach. Here is a map to the trailhead. Camping permits are $25 and includes parking; day permits are $15. The park has 34 tent sites with four people allowed per site. Book through reserveamerica.com or call 800-444-7275. Here is a map of the park. Begin at the trailhead directly behind El Moro School. After 1.5 miles, go right at the unmarked T-junction (this is I Think I Can/E. Cut Across). At the fork with a posted map, go left to connect with Moro Ridge Trail; continue north on Moro Ridge 0.5-mile to Lower Moro Campground. On the descent, take Moro Ridge for 2.1 miles to singletrack B.F.I. on the right. After .3-mile, B.F.I. connects to El Moro Canyon; go left to return to the start. The park is open 6 a.m. to sunset; 949-497-7648. No grills or drinkable water source, so pack it in. Amenities are pit toilets, trashcans, and picnic tables. No dogs.