There’s more to Crystal Cove State Park than just bikinis and beaches: explore the largest portion dedicated to preserving the chaparral and offering miles of trails for hiking and trail biking.
So, you’ve photographed the hamburger rocks and the beach huts many times over. You’ve walked the three mile long length of the beach and back several times, taken some sneaky shots of bathers, and wondered who left the lobster shells. The photographic possibilities of this state park seem to be finished for you. And they are if you restrain your imagery to the waterside.
But if you walk inland you will enter a world like few others in Orange County these days. Moro Canyon is the largest and least visited section of Crystal Cove State Park. You can hike, bike, and even camp along the 17 miles of trails that follow the bumpy crests of opposing ridge tops or penetrate the deep recess of the canyon itself. Several visits will be required before you know it all — the steep Poles Trail, the undulating No Name Ridge Trail, and the wind caves along Moro Ridge.
You can peer into the adjacent Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, study the layout of the seaside city of Laguna Beach, or hike from ocean to canyon terminus and back again.
Come in the Spring if you want to see wildflowers, winter if you long for green hills, and summer if you hope to capture a pictures of tarantulas along the trail (definitely not aggressive!). Oaks and sycamores will shade you from the sun. Cool fogs have been known to blow in when you need them the most. The view to Catalina Island is not to be missed. Keep an eye out for impressive sunsets.
Which camera to bring? In the spirit of Ansel Adams who said he liked to hike with the heaviest camera he could carry, I say bring them all! I have taken interesting photos with many plastic and metal-bodied light catchers here. The most important device you can carry with you is in your head. Come here in any season and don’t worry about getting lost on the maze of trails because there is a map at every trail intersection: