5 Best Hikes in Laguna Beach
The small coastal city of Laguna Beach is a beautiful beachside community home to beach lovers and surfers, artists, and foodies, and to an active community of trail lovers. Any beachside stroll is a lovely time, but Laguna Beach is home to some of the best trails for beginners and hardcore hikers alike. Here are our 5 favorite and best hikes in Laguna Beach!
Perfect for beginners or for anybody looking for a less challenging walk along the beach, the Reef Point and Crystal Cove Trail takes hikers along Crystal Cove State Park and the beautiful beach views. Expect quite some traffic along this popular path, particularly from runners and birdwatchers.
Once you’ve finished the path, the park has plenty to look out for as well. Visitors enjoy boat and whale watching, enjoying the wildflowers, and, of course, enjoying the beautiful scenes set by the sun. Go over to Moro Beach to enjoy a little soak in the sea as well.
For a more challenging hike near Crystal Cove, try the Crystal Cove Perimeter Loop. Not only is this 15 km loop more difficult thanks to the longer distance traveled and the abundance of inclines, but it also takes you away from the busy suburban scene. Hidden away from the rest of the city, it’ll feel like you’re tucked away in nature far from the trends and technology of suburban life—even if it’s just around the corner.
This also makes it a fun and hassle-free spot for camping. About 3.5 km down the path, you’ll find a campground off Deer Canyon trail. With only a few picnic tables and chemical toilets, you’ll have to carry everything you need for a camping trip with you. The good thing is, since you’re so close to civilization, it’s not a big deal if anything doesn’t go quite as planned!
This nearly 8 km loop has two faces, one more welcoming than the other. The elevation gain is nearly 300 meters, so one way or another, you’re going to notice a climb. Go counterclockwise and you’ll be greeted with a steep and seemingly non-stop incline that anyone will struggle to get all the way up. Once you’ve conquered the climb, however, you’re rewarded with beautiful ocean views and the sight of snow capped mountains. The path after this point is fairly even and calm, with a slight and relaxed decline until the end.
Go clockwise, of course, and you’re greeted with this gradual incline all the way to the top. The tradeoff then becomes the steep decline—less tiring, but still tricky to navigate. Either way, expect to work up a sweat on this intermediate trail.
If you like a little mystery with your exercise, then the Car Wreck Trail is perfect for you. As the name suggests, this trail is meant to show off the wreck of a 1946 Dodge coupe hidden in the hills above Laguna Beach. How exactly did this car get in an accident in the middle of nowhere? Nobody knows for sure, which makes it a popular sight to check out along the hike.
The 5.5 km trail isn’t terribly long, but the paths are steep and there is virtually no shade, so it can be a challenging experience for beginners and more seasoned hikers alike. Make sure to bring plenty of water and the appropriate gear for this one.
If you’re looking for a challenge, this short but difficult trail is more of a climb than a walk. With an elevation gain of about 150 meters over only a kilometer and a half, there is caution to be had. Watch out for rock faces with little traction on the way up and on the way back down. Of course, the trail isn’t all bad, offering great views and a relaxing breeze along the way.
These are our favorite hikes in and around Laguna Beach, from relaxing walks along the ocean to more challenging treks. There are certainly many more trails to explore, however! Did we miss your favorite hike? Let us know!
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