Backcountry Camping is available at three designated campgrounds within Crystal Cove State Park offering a total of 32 remote campsites. The campsites are named Upper & Lower Moro Ridge Campground and Deer Canyon Campground. The Moro Ridge campgrounds are the more popular of the three campgrounds, with spectacular ocean vista views at Lower Moro Ridge, and it is also the easier campground to reach, as it only requires a hike of about 3.5 to 4 miles to reach. Deer Canyon Campground is situated under an Oak tree canopy in a small canyon, and requires a hike of 4.5 miles to reach.

Crystal Cove State Park encompasses a large swath of Orange County and provides access to backcountry hiking and other outdoors activities within the limits of the surrounding cities. Crystal Cove also has a large underwater park that is popular with scuba divers and snorkelers.

Each campsite includes a picnic table and access to vault toilets. No other amenities are offered. You will need to bring your own drinking water and pack out all of your trash. Campfires are not allowed anywhere within Crystal Cove State Park, but camping stoves may be used at the backcountry campgrounds. Much of the Crystal Cove State Park closes after heavy rain, including the trails and campgrounds. Be sure to obtain a backcountry permit from the visitors center before setting out for the campgrounds.

Online Campsite Reservations

Crystal Cove State Park Backcountry Campground Features

Campground Type: Organized, Primitive
Number of Campsites: 32 Campsites
Cost: $25/night
Use Level: Low – Medium
Dogs Allowed: No
Fire Rings: None – Campfires not allowed in Crystal Cove State Park
Drinking Water: None
Toilets: Yes – Vault Toilets
Showers: None
Trash/Dumpsters: None – Pack it out
Hiking Access: Yes
Beach/Lake Access: None
RV/Trailer Length: N/A
RV/Trailer Amenities: N/A
Cell Phone Service: Possible with some carriers
Wifi: None
Operating Season: Campground Open Year-round

Getting There

Address: 8471 North Coast Highway
Laguna Beach CA 92651
Geo Coordinates:
  • Upper Moro Campground: 33.584032, -117.795042
  • Lower Moro Campground: 33.579595, -117.801199
  • Deer Canyon Campground: 33.594305, -117.799165
Nearest City/Town: Laguna Beach, California
Elevation: 700 Feet
Location: Orange County, California
Paved Road Access: None
Proximity to Stores: Several miles to Laguna Beach, CA

Moro Ridge Campgrounds: 

Begin at the trailhead behind El Moro School. Walk for 1.5 miles, go right at the unmarked trail junction. At the fork with a posted map, head left to connect with Moro Ridge Trail. Hike on Moro Ridge for half a mile to Lower Moro Campground. Continue hiking north for another half mile to reach Upper Moro Campground.

Deer Canyon Campground:

Begin at the trailhead at the Crystal Cove State Park Visitor Center. Walk for 0.6 miles on the No Dogs Trail. At the fork in the trail, bear left onto No Name Ridge Trail, and hike for 1.3 miles. At the next fork in the trail, bear right on to Ticketron Trail. Hike for 1.2 Miles to Deer Creek Campground.


Phone: (949) 494-3539 Facebook:
Web: California State Parks Twitter:
Reservations: via Reserve America

When To Go

Fall through Spring – The best time to hike into the Crystal Cove State Park backcountry is when it is cooler weather. Winter is ideal, but late spring offers some wildflower sighting opportunities.

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What To Do

Hiking & Mountain Biking – There are numerous hiking trails available within Crystal Cove State Park.

 Image Credits: Chris via Flickr

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Justin is an IT Professional, focused on cloud, mobile, and infrastructure management and security with his consulting business, as well as chief bottle washer for this website. In addition to, Justin also runs and writes for the technology infrastructure-focused blog, and the mobile device-focused blog


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