Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve Loop

EASY 30 reviews

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve Loop is a 5.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Newport Beach, CA that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.3 miles 180 feet Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

road biking

trail running

walking

whitewater kayaking

horseback riding

beach

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Estuary ecosystem, birdwatching, modernistic buildings, family hike Just about the only vivid shades of green that you will find during California's summer are to be found in the few remaining natural estuaries. The Irvine Coast Trail (ultimately linking UC Irvine by way of San Diego Creek) follows the north bank of upper Newport Bay providing intimate glimpses of a salt marsh ecosystem. Pickleweed and eel grass fill the low flats. Willows, sycamores, and invasive Brazillian Pepper (do not touch!) cover the ground between the dry coastal sage habitat (distinguished by its grasses, buckwheat, and, in some places, cholla cactus) and the salt marsh. Bring binoculars or spotting scopes for a good look at the rare California least tern, skimmers, Great Blue Herons, white pelicans, snowy egrets, and savannah sparrows. Fall brings the best variety of migratory wading birds and ducks. The scenery may not be the best, but the riot of nature that goes on year round makes up for it.

nature trips
29 days ago

Very easy! Nice views and a nice variety of ecosystems to spot along the way. If you go down near the marsh area, definitely wear shoes you doing mind getting a bit mud on!

1 month ago

trail running
2 months ago

2 months ago

nice trail but way too much horse poo

3 months ago

5 months ago

6 months ago

Nice view and great for everyone --- kids and adults.

hiking
1 year ago

An easy, well-maintained trail that skirts the back bay. This is a GREAT trail! The best time to walk the trail is early in the morning - before 7:00am, which is when John Wayne Airport starts launching jets at a rate of around one every five minutes; the mornings are pristine. During the week, you'll run into people (like me) out walking their dogs in the mornings and evenings (unlike me, though, many don't seem to want to use the little blue crap bags to pick up after their canine companions). During the day the trails are virtually empty. Weekends on the back bay are different; there are TONS of people out walking, riding their bikes and jogging. There's no tree coverage, so - if you're planning on being out during the day - sunscreen and a hat are recommended. At night, the cold can come up pretty quick, so a light jacket is a good idea.

scenic driving
1 year ago

Scenic drive along Pacific Coast Hwy saw a glimpse of Upper Newport Bay. Definitely will have to walk through there next time.

1 year ago

Great hike at the marsh and also by the bay.

1 year ago

sea kayaking
1 year ago

Me and my wife, went here to celebrate our 1st year married, we rent a kayak and spent an hour navigating the upper bay and some channels.

hiking
1 year ago

Hiking up hill, walking trail.

Despite the fat piles of horse droppings, the air plane noise and super-speed cycling, this is a great walk with kids. LOL They have markers along the trail. My 10 year old and I did 1mile (his choice, I would have done the whole thing).

Animals we saw were loons, turkey vultures and horses (with riders). Very beautiful place, just have to ignore the urbanization surrounding it.

birding
1 year ago

A great trail, had a great time. Saw a bunch of wildlife along the way. Good for family's or a walk by your self!

walking
1 year ago

great walk, make sure you take the stairs and go down into the bay area, not just up on the ridge. I saw lots of birds and rabbits and even a weasel. very peaceful place despite the airplane noise.

birding
2 years ago

Great bird walk! Make sure you bring a birding scope.

hiking
2 years ago

Very peaceful

walking
2 years ago

This is one of my favorite walking trails simply for the incredible scenery, wildlife and length of trail. Lower Back Bay trail is rather easy, but has a phenomenal zen quality to it. I recommend Back Bay trails (upper or lower). Very peaceful!!!

2 years ago

It was a really beautiful bike/walk. This trail can be as hard as you want it to be so it's great for families.