Crystal Cove

Park Brochure

brochure Crystal Cove - Park Brochure
Our Mission Crystal Cove State Park The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. The ocean and shoreline, visible from nearly all points along Pacific Coast Highway, dominate the coastal portion of the California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (949) 494-3539. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service Discover the many states of California.™ Crystal Cove State Park 8471 N. Coast Highway Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (949) 494-3539 © 2004 California State Parks (Rev. 2014) park. From the high ridges above Moro Canyon, visitors enjoy an expansive view of the ocean, the interior valleys and the mountain ranges beyond. rystal Cove State Park’s rolling surf, wide sandy beaches, tide pools, gently sloping hills, and deeply wooded canyons and ridges provide a delightful contrast to its urban surroundings. Located off busy Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove is one of Orange County’s largest remaining examples of open space and natural seashore. The park’s Mediterranean climate is characterized by moist, foggy summer mornings, with the fog burning off by midmorning to bring warm, sunny days and cool evenings. Park History Native People For over nine thousand years, the native people established villages in Moro Canyon near two natural springs. Their food sources included waterfowl, fish from the kelp beds and surf zones, and a variety of plants and animals. The prehistoric people developed a number of specialized crafts and tools including nets, fishhooks, basketry, stone implements, ritual objects and tule canoes. With the arrival of Spanish missionaries, the native people were drawn into the mission system. At Mission San Gabriel and Mission San Juan Capistrano, their way of life changed with the introduction of new religious and agricultural practices. Rancho San Joaquin After José Andrés Sepulveda acquired land from the Mexican government in 1836, Mission San Juan Capistrano’s grazing area became known as “Rancho San Joaquin.” With the assistance of a Native American workforce, Sepulveda used Moro Canyon’s seasonal pastures for cattle grazing. After 1850, a run of bad luck —  along with land title complications — pushed Sepulveda into debt. He sold Rancho San Joaquin in 1864. The Irvine Ranch Company San Francisco financier James Irvine and three northern California ranchers purchased the rancho and stocked it with thousands of sheep. In 1876 Irvine bought out his partners when ranching failed due to droughts, wool infestations, and competitive markets. After Irvine’s death in 1886, sheep ranching continued as other ranching activities developed. James Irvine II inherited the ranch from his father and diversified the agricultural business by leasing land to tenant farmers. He incorporated his land holdings and created “The Irvine Company” on June 4, 1894. Japanese Farmers Beginning in 1927, Japanese farmers leased land from The Irvine Company and built homes, barns, and a community center known as “Laguna Beach Language School” (a building now preserved within the Historic District). Planting hundreds of acres of crops, the farmers sold produce from roadside stands and to Los Angeles markets. Life changed dramatically during World War II when the Japanese community was sent to an internment camp in Poston, Arizona. As a result, they forever lost their farms and homes along the Crystal Cove hills. Laura Davick Collection courtesy of Phyllis Parker Lowe C Just as in the 1940s, today’s Crystal Cove has something for everyone. Although the Japanese farmers did not return to the area, agriculture and ranching practices continued into the 1970s. Over the years, The Irvine Company leased their land for farming, equestrian use and cattle grazing. During the early days of park ownership, these activities ended in order to enhance natural preservation and public recreation. Crystal Cove The Irvine Company also leased the coastal area to filmmakers and vacationers. Palm-thatched structures emerged at Crystal Cove, serving as both tropical movie backdrops and beach cottage rentals. Beginning in the 1920s, people traveled the new Pacific Coast Highway to visit the beach. The Cove soon became a popular destination to pitch tents or rent cottages. By the late 1930s, The Irvine Company limited the development of the area to the current 46 cottages. In time, longterm leases were made, tent camping was eliminated, and the Crystal Cove community became a private beach. The National Register of Historic Places listed Crystal Cove for its unique vernacular architecture in 1979, the year The Irvine Company sold this land to the State of California. The cottages have been restored by California State Parks and the Crystal Cove Alliance for public use and enjoyment. Crystal Cove State Park is part of the 40,000-acre Irvine Ranch National and California Natural Landmark. This designation has been bestowed by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of the Interior to recognize the exceptional value of these lands to California and the Live oak nation. Please visit for information. Moro Beach and Canyon “Tyron’s Camp” (a café, auto camp, and tent campground) opened during the 1920s along the beach and inland at Moro Canyon. In the late 1950s, the complex evolved into a seasonal trailer destination known as “El Morro Beach Trailer Park.” Later, about 300 permanent manufactured homes replaced seasonal beach trailers in this area. After tenants’ leases expired in 2005, the trailers were removed to develop the Moro Campground and day-use facility. NATURAL HISTORY Coastal Strand The beach’s 3.2 miles are bordered by hardy, fleshy-leafed plants growing low against saltsprayed dunes. Shoreside tide pools are visible at low tide. Historic District Coastal Bluffs At high tide, the surf laps against the base of 80-foot bluffs. Two bluff-top public parking areas, Reef Point and Pelican Point, offer access to the beach. Flora The park has distinct plant communities — specific habitats with conditions that favor some types of plants and animals over others. Coastal Sage Scrub This dense shrub community spreads across the coastal terrace, along the sides of lower Moro Canyon and upper Moro Canyon, especially on the north-facing reaches. The resinous, highly flammable vegetation regenerates quickly after burning. Annual Grasses These introduced grasses grow extensively on the terraces and to a lesser extent in lower Moro Canyon. Southern Riparian Woodland Along the small watershed represented by seasonal Moro Creek, sycamores, oaks and willows are found. Undergrowth includes elderberry, toyon and lemonade berry. Fauna The intertidal wildlife includes purple shore crabs, sea hares and sea anemones. On the bluffs and terraces, ground squirrels, cottontail rabbits, western fence lizards, California king snakes, California gnatcatchers, California quail and deer are found. The park’s open space areas offer habitat for coyotes, bobcats, roadrunners, gopher snakes, western toads, red-tail hawks, California thrashers, rattlesnakes and more. RECREATION Reservations are imperative for all historic cottages, coastal campsites and backcountry sites at Crystal Cove. For details and links to site-specific reservations, call (800) 444-7275 or visit the website at Coastal Camping Completed in 2011, Moro Campground offers 57 sites with unparalleled ocean views. Hookups serve 27 sites; the other 30 are suitable for tents, tent trailers or van conversions. Backcountry Primitive Camping A fairly strenuous, 3- to 4-mile uphill hike leads to three separate camping areas. Campers must pack in and out all of their supplies, including water. Backcountry Trails From the Moro Canyon parking lot, access 2,400 undeveloped acres. The trails are open to hiking, biking and equestrian use. Maps are available at the ranger station. Beach Activities Seven separate coves line 3.2 miles of beach, offering spectacular sunbathing, swimming, surfing, diving and tide pool viewing. Please do not disturb tide pool residents. SPECIAL EVENTS The park welcomes special events, including weddings, picnics, parties and film shoots. For event reservations and permit information, please visit specialevents. Lodging and food services The park’s concession partner, Crystal Cove Beach Cottages, provide overnight lodging services. For details, visit: MOVIES MADE AT CRYSTAL COVE 1918 Treasure Island 1920 The Sea Wolf 1923 Stormswept 1927 The Wreck of the Hesperus 1928 Sadie Thompson Half a Bride White Shadows in the South Seas 1929 The Isle of Lost Ships 1932 Rain 1934 Treasure Island 1938 The Great Heart 1944 To Have and Have Not 1951 Two of a Kind 1974 Herbie Rides Again 1985 The Creator 1988 Beaches WATER SAFETY TIPS • Swim with a friend — Supervise children closely. Flotation devices are not reliable. • Water use areas  — Swimming, surfing and kayaking zones are separate from each other; check to make sure your activity is taking place in the proper zone. Contact park staff for additional beach safety information. • Rip currents — If you become caught in a rip current, relax, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops, and then swim back to shore. If you are unable to return to the beach, tread water and signal for assistance. • Avoid spinal injuries ­—Do not dive headfirst into unfamiliar waters. • Be alert  — Never turn your back on the ocean. Sudden waves can sweep you away from shore or tide pool areas. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES Picnicking — Picnic areas and restrooms are accessible. Refer to the park map. Trails —The Bluff Top Multi-Use Trail is paved and accessible. Hikers and cyclists may also enjoy its wildlife and scenic views with interpretive displays. Beach /shore access —Beach wheelchairs are available first-come, first-served. Beach access is at the Crystal Cove Historic District and Moro Beach. Exhibits and programs  —The park visitor centers at El Moro and the Historic District are accessible. Food  /  lodging services  —   Concession operations are accessible. Four rental cottages are ADA-accessible and may be reserved with written evidence of need. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Huntington State Beach, Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) at Beach Blvd. (Highway 39) (714) 536-1454 • Doheny State Beach, off Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) at Dana Point Harbor at Del Obispo St. (949) 496-6171 Backcountry wilderness area — part of the Irvine Ranch National and California Natural Landmark PLEASE REMEMBER • Park hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily, year round. Historic District hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. • Possession of alcohol is prohibited throughout the park except at the Beachcomber Café and within campsites at Moro Campground. • Dogs must be kept on a leash no more than six feet long. Pets may be walked on paved areas only, and they must not be left unattended. Except for service animals, pets are not permitted on the beach or in the backcountry. • All tide pool specimens are protected by state law. Collection of shells and rocks is prohibited. • All natural, cultural and historical park resources are protected by law. • Stay on established trails. Children and pets should be closely supervised. • Do not climb on or approach the cliff faces — they are unstable and can collapse under you. • No fires are allowed on or in the sand. Hibachis or barbecues are permitted­ — gas canister type only. Wood or charcoal is not permitted. Open flames are not permitted in the backcountry. This park receives support in part from a nonprofit organization: Crystal Cove Conservancy #5 Crystal Cove Newport Coast, CA 92657 Rd HI Ro ad Fe Deer Canyon nc lin e LL R O ro Restrooms Locked Gate Surfing Accessible Trail Campground Parking Viewpoint Boardwalk Environmental Campground Picnic Area Overnight Cottages Water Depth (feet) Diving Ranger Station Park Building Treasure Cove 1st Reef d 3rd R dy Trail CRYSTAL COVE PROMENADE Pacific Coast Bluff Cry o ve stal C18 Rocky Bight Historic Anchor Bluff Hwy P Top Trail P Blu ff 3.5 Cove Reef Point Moro Cove Overlook Bluff Historic Anchor 120 12 Corsair F4U crash site P a cifi Lifeguard Headquarters LAGUNA BEACH Abalone Point r Rid ge ny Road GE Ca RID Rid Mo O R N Hwy Mo r o B eac h 30 120 M YO N A c C oast me ng Rd Ea N or o M ge Beach Bluff 60 C RY S TA L C O V E U N D E RWA T E R P A R K B.F.I. Moro Canyon Tunnel to Day Use P 18 Scotchman’s Cove Split Rock 30 Moro Campground El Morro School Reef Point Entrance 73 C D AL ER LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PA R K O e dg ro Mud see Crystal Cove Historic District detail map above Crystal Cove Historic District 12 ’N Ri G E dg e ad Ro gs P 60 ee f ast H wy Ri p To Bluff Bluff Pelican Point Do o ef Bluff 2n Little Treasure Cove th t Pa Bluff Bluff Trail lk in po ew Vi P Boar d w a NEWPORT BEACH Top Re Bluff P P ath P P a ir p Los Trancos Pacific Coast Hwy Entrance St oas t Hw y N Moro Visitor Center Ne Pac i fic C Pelican Point Entrance Co Moro o as Laguna Beach Water District wp Co c C RY S TA L C O V E S TAT E PA R K NEWPORT COAST Canyon rt if i 1 ad Trancos PELICAN HILL RESORT r tD LAGUNA BEACH see Crystal Cove Underwater Park detail map below Ro 0.5 Miles 0.8 Kilometers Upper Moro Ridge ro Abalone Point Canyon 0.4 0.6 Pa c Lo s 0.3 0.4 ro ad e © 2011 California State Parks (Rev. 2014) Map by Eureka Cartography, Berkeley, CA Food Services Bicycle Trail 0.2 w . F.I Accessible Feature Trail 0.2 Mo g Rid PA R K Unpaved Road 0.1 0 Ro B. 60 n o U N D E RWA T E R = Special Event Venue For permit details visit Ca EM Moro Campground ad on O ID Moro Visitor Center El Morro School M P st y L Hw Acro ss C ut A st COVE Paved Road Y Lower Moro Ridge R oa Reef Point Freeway Major Hwy O E C Legend R O Mo San Clemente 10 15 Kilometers M c r o ss gs Road 5 CRYSTAL COVE ci fic PROMENADE C RY S TA L Pendleton USMC Missi sy tron Crystal Cove Historic District Pa 0 A Rd Poles see Crystal Cove Historic District detail map above N S TAT E PA R K M Cleveland National Forest 10 Miles W Y E n A Ea 241 ea Irvine Newport Beach 73 San Juan Capistrano Crystal Cove SP 1 Dana Point 5 Camp 5 Tick e ke id 405 Parking Area d Santa Ana P Los Trancos Roa Oc 15 No Na m eR 91 55 Pelican Point yon Roa Can d ic No Do Long Beach Huntington Beach cif n Anaheim 22 Pa o C RY S TA L C O V E yo 5 60 Chino Hills SP 57 D 710 110 Pomona ut t C 605 C es Los Angeles 1 0 Muddy Ridge Entrance 134 10 Sl ad Dr N ge Pasadena w p o r t Co a s t O Ro Ne C Y Ra tt l e s na 1 see Crystal Cove Underwater Park detail map below N A Mo D ro R 1.5 Kilometers NEWPORT COAST R o ad PELICAN HILL RESORT Tra il TR wy 1 Mile 1.0 5 Santa Catalina Island 0 tH D 10 405 as MU 101 AN C Burbank Co S 0.75 0.5 0.5 ic O 0.25 0 c if L 0 Pa ll R o Rd CORONA DEL MAR STATE BEACH in To S Bom Tr S Ocean N oa q u il k Tra Pacific CA N YO Sa n J ge Co as eR d IN id Ri dg tD Ri QU Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark Lin 150 Meters Beach OA oad or R 0 South ta N e w p o rt B ea c h th Bluff at ev El 500 Feet Ridge d N or 0 Bommer Ridge Park Entrance J eR k N dg dwal e P ar k Rd Ri 36 7 8 13 Film and Media Center C r e ek Boar 20 9 11 28 25 10 23 26 30 Pro 22 Bluff State Park er 6 3 31 Beach dg SA N o N am e R i d g e R o a d 4 12 i n H i lls Rd s Bluff oa q u Vi Overnight Check in 33 38 Park and Marine Research Facility nJ m 39 29 18 2 Beachcomber 40 1 Cafe 46 Exhibit e ad Center en m 21 14 16 17 Sa Crystal Cove 73 m P 35 19 27 24 Shake Shack 32 ranco s Los T Cultural 34 Center 37 Pedestrian Bridge y Trail ast Hwy Bo a Crystal Cove irw Alliance Sta Headquarters Pacific Co To p r Outdoor Commons 5 y R E N O P Stairwa M M Y O B AN C Visitor Center/ Interpretive Store 45 as t D r to Entrance Station P 1 Bluff Garage p or t Co to pedestrian underpass to Los Trancos Parking and Park Office HISTORIC DISTRICT New C R Y S TA L C O V E

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