Crystal Cove Run

We were torn this weekend between going to the Long Beach Grand Prix and doing something local today to go along with the Dodgers game tomorrow. We opted for something local and went out to Crystal Cove. I’m glad we did.

First off, we go to Laguna Beach fairly often to go hiking and to the beach once in a while, and there’s a spot along PCH where the road dips just before it goes up a hill and into Laguna. If you follow that hill out to the water there’s a beautiful house on the rocks. I’ve always wondered what a sunset would look like from that house. The beach right along that stretch of PCH looks pretty impressive too, and I’ve always wanted to go there. What I didn’t realize is that beach is part of Crystal Cove. I didn’t realize this until we were already into the hike, but it was a very nice bonus to the trip.

As for the hike/run, I had a very good time. I’ve gone a little ways into Crystal Cove a few years back and I was unimpressed, so it’s been a while since i’ve been open to the idea of going back. Part of my reasoning of wanting to go back was because I need to get myself into better trail running shape.

Crystal Cove Route
Callie’s route in yellow. Dave’s route in green

Since I’m focused more on running and Callie is not, our paths are a little different.

I’m running the Grand Canyon this fall (rim to rim), and I need to seriously up my game now, before I get in over my head. The outer loop of Crystal Cove is about 9 – 10 miles, so the distance was a good fit, but I was also happy with the amount of elevation change. It’s up and down quite a bit, so that’s pretty nice. Sometimes when you’re out there and the trail is all up or all down, it can be draining and not as much fun for someone like me who is probably in over their head (I have a few months to turn it around).

Elevator to the right. Slow n easy to the left.

A little word of advice: Avoid the “Elevator” section of trail if you are going up hill. It’s steep as hell and I had to be pretty careful on the way down.

Last stretch of trail before getting back to the parking lot.

The views were great, the trail is wide, but like a lot of spots in Southern California, Rattlesnakes are abundant. We were just walking along and passed an older lady who asked us, “Did you see the snake?” To which we replied no. In getting lost in conversation, Callie and I had walked about 2 feet from a Rattlesnake and didn’t even realize it. It didn’t rattle, didn’t do much of anything, and when the lady asked us about it, we were clueless. She then threw a small stick at it to see if she could move it off the trail. It made me wish that I was jogging in cowboy boots.

Down in the bottom of the canyon. Lot’s of nice shade through there.

All things considered, my previous opinion of the area was completely wrong and I believe I’ll use this spot quite a bit to gear up for the Grand Canyon. Now all I need to do is be able to run the loop about 3 times and I think I’ll be ready.

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