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Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve Loop

EASY 335 reviews

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve Loop is a 5.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Newport Beach, California 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.

Distance: 5.2 miles Elevation Gain: 226 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

beach

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no shade

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.

hiking
no shade
27 days ago

Nice easy trail. Good for walking or going for a short trail run.

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Lots of bikers. No shade. Easy. Horses. Birdwatching.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful!

hiking
no shade
over grown
2 months ago

It was an overcast day so the temperature was pretty good. If you start before 8am, the sun wont be totally out for a couple of hours, you'd enjoy the trail more. There is NO shade the whole way. Put sunblock on :) after 10am. This is an easy trail, no elevation to speak of, easy and flat most of the way. Lots of people, bikes, and some horse riders too. Everyone was courteous. Nice hike. Part of the trail is paved, part dirt path. So be prepared your shoes and legs/pants will get very dusty.

hiking
no shade
off trail
3 months ago

This hike offers winding dirt trails that run parallel to a paved path. The view of the preserve is beautiful and there’s a lot of small wildlife to see like rabbits and lizards. The trails are not shaded so beware and wear sunscreen! Also long workout pants may be helpful for trails that have overgrowth.

hiking
4 months ago

Relaxing and good views

running
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Love the Back Bay. There are dirt trails and asphalt trails..great place.

5 months ago

Great easy trail and well maintained

hiking
5 months ago

Good hike for beginners.

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
rocky
6 months ago

Great loop for training, walking, running, cycling, and even a quick trial ride in your whip. Great for brisk mornings!

hiking
no shade
6 months ago

Great trail/s. Lots of paved / unpaved routes to bike or walk.

Snail scramble after rain!

hiking
7 months ago

This is a really nice trail that is good for all levels. It is very well kept with all the trash cans scattered around which is nice. There are tons of different paths which all eventually meet up at some point. There were a good amount of people using the trail for a weekday but there was still plenty of parking when I arrived at 8:30. Lots of dogs can be seen throughout the paths

hiking
closed
muddy
7 months ago

Amazing trail but was muddy from the rain. Beautiful wild flowers going on as well

walking
no shade
7 months ago

Superb with the spring growth. Great birdwatching, raven versus hawk, hawk catching prey ...

7 months ago

easy hike for kids, mind you don't do the whole loop depending in their age but great views

Just under 6 miles if you complete the full loop, and out/back portion. Flat and easy trail, minimal incline. Views and breeze add to the value of this trail.

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

This hike has wide, will established dirt paths and some parts are actually board walk. You can either do an out and back on the south side or the loop on the north side of the estuary. We found plenty of street parking on University Dr. on a Sunday afternoon. Some minuses: You're just below the fight path of John Wayne Airport. The constant noise might grate on your nerves after a while. It might be socially acceptable to come across big piles of horse poop. But then people with dogs seem to think its ok not to pick up after their pets. You have to deal with the "mountain bike" people zipping through some of the skinny paths at times. It's an estuary, which is somewhat stagnant so you can get the smell and bugs at times. There's no shade so bring water, your gonna break a sweat! The scenery and wild flowers are beautiful in the spring.

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