A glimpse at Crystal Cove in March

Crystal Cove State Park is offering a variety of events in February. During the winter, the beaches and park are less crowded, providing the perfect opportunity to hike, explore and discover the flora and fauna, and take in picturesque ocean vistas.

Here is a glimpse at a few of the offerings.

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Photos courtesy of Crystal Cove State Park

Taking a scenic hike

Friday, March 8: Perimeter of the Park from 7:15-11:30 a.m.

Ready for a challenging hike to tour the Crystal Cove backcountry? Join a park docent as you go from the “gills to the hills” on this strenuous but very scenic loop hike. The distance is around nine miles; elevation/gain loss, around 1,500 ft. The hike is done at a moderate pace with one or two short breaks. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a snack. Arrive by 7:15 as the hike will start promptly at 7:30 a.m. Meet at the Ranger Station (PCH inland at the stoplight School-State Park, follow the signs towards the Ranger Station). $15 day use fee.

Saturday, March 9: Caves and Arches from 1-3 p.m.

Join a park naturalist as they attempt to explain the origin of our coastline’s Caves and Arches – an adventurous and photogenic hike along a seldom visited shoreline. Expect some moderate rock scrambling on uneven possibly slippery and sharp surfaces as you head to Little Treasure Cove to explore this rocky area. Wear sturdy walking shoes and bring hiking poles if you have them. Meet at Pelican Point lot #2 (PCH coastward at Newport Coast, right at the kiosk to the first lot). $15 day-use fee.

Friday, March 15: Little Rangers Walk from 10-11 a.m.

Want to give your little one an appreciation for nature? It’s never too early to begin exploring. Join a park naturalist on a Little Rangers Walk at Crystal Cove State Park and take a slow-paced walk to explore, listen and look at nature through the eyes of young children. The terrain is unpredictable for strollers, so be prepared to walk on a short, uneven trail. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water, snacks and anything to make your little one comfy and happy. This program is geared for ages 3-5. Meet at the Berns Amphitheatre (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow signs towards the campground). $15 day use fee. To register, email laurel.gifford@parks.ca.gov.

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Join a park naturalist for a Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” on March 16

Saturday, March 16: Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” from 9-11 a.m.

Crystal Cove State Park is a great spot to look for resident dolphins, migrating gray whales and birds just passing by the coastline. Join a park naturalist for a Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” and learn some fun facts about the coastal creatures as you walk the bluff trail and scan the ocean at each overlook. Bring binoculars for better viewing. Meet at Pelican Point lot #4 (PCH coastward at Newport Coast left the at kiosk to the last lot). $15 day use fee.

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Explore tidepools on March 22

Friday, March 22: Tidepool Exploration Walk from 2-3:30 p.m.

Barnacles and sea stars and crabs, oh my! Join a park naturalist for a guided Tidepool Exploration Walk and learn about the exciting animals that live in this ever-changing habitat nestled in the watery pools of Crystal Cove State Park’s Marine Protected Area. You will walk less than half a mile down to the rocky shoreline to explore the intertidal zone and learn about how tidepool organisms use a variety of adaptations to survive in a challenging environment. The path down to the tidepools is paved, but then you will be walking on uneven and unpredictable surfaces of sand and rock so wear closed-toe footwear with grip. The tidepools may be slippery. Sunscreen and/or a hat are advised depending on the weather. Meet at the Los Trancos Parking Lot at the trailer with the ramp (PCH turn inland at the stoplight). $15 day use fee.

Saturday, March 23: Guided Beach Wrack and Exploration Walk at 2 p.m.

Winter days on the beach at Crystal Cove are quieter – empty beach, resting birds, super clear water. The tides are lowest during the day and the receding tide leaves a potluck of animals and seaweed to explore so come join this guided Beach Wrack and Tidepool Walk. You’ll walk from Reef Point toward the Historic District. When you are finished exploring, continue to the Historic District, take some refreshment and enjoy the spectacular view at the Shake Shack, then return at your leisure along the blufftop trail. Wear sturdy walking shoes, or closed-toed sandals for tidepooling, rocks can be slippery and sharp, and your feet will likely get wet and bring a hiking pole if you are unsteady on rocks. Meet at the Reef Point Lot (PCH coastward at the stoplight Reef Point, around the kiosk, then left to the first restroom building, which is on the right). $15 day use fee.

For a complete calendar of events, go to www.crystalcovestatepark.org/park-calendars/.

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