Newport Beach is famous for fancy sports cars, fine dining, the beach and shopping. The glamorous beachside Orange County city isn’t famous for its nature trails and hiking opportunities, but we’re of the opinion that it should be. Here are our top 6 Newport Beach hiking trails to help you get moving in the new year.
1. Environmental Nature Center
The Environmental Nature Center is a museum and educational resource center that offers a wide variety of services to the general public. The hiking trail available is easy enough for families with young children. The wild, natural surroundings will have you feeling like you are in a lush forrest, far away from Orange County city life. Watch out for poison oak and be prepared to duck under overgrown foliage on the path. Beyond the beautiful protected natural landscape, the center features a seasonal butterfly pavilion, class facilities, tours, summer camps, a gift shop that helps support the center and various events throughout the year.
2. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
The easy and relaxing route along the preserve sets trail-goers up with expansive views of Upper Newport Bay. The route is easy enough for beginners. There are two trail options, the primary, maintained trail above the wetlands and the sometimes-muddy route at the base of the wetlands. There are several paths leading between the two trails.
Bikers are required to yield to hikers and joggers. All must yield to horseback riders. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to dodge bikers and horse poop, so be alert. Watch for airplanes taking off from John Wayne Airport and take in the beauty of the protected Newport Beach wetlands. The trail is popular on the weekends and can therefore get crowded. It gets hot during the day, especially during the summer, so come equipped with sun protection and water. Like the trail, parking is a breeze and free.
3. Buck Gully Restoration
The hiking trail at Buck Gully Reserve Restoration is popular for its peaceful, wild landscape. The path is well maintained but does become narrow in some areas. The route is popular with mountain bikers so keep an eye out. Many hikers report that the mountain bikers are cautious and considerate to those walking the trail. Nature surrounds you as you trek past dense, critter-filled foliage. The Buck Gully Reserve encompasses 300 acres of wild, protected terrain.
4. Back Bay Loop Trail
Not to be confused with the Upper Newport Bay trail, the Back Bay Loop in Newport Beach is a 10.5-mile route along the wetlands. The road accommodates cars (one-way), walkers, hikers, joggers, cyclists, etc. The serene views of the bay and sky above combined with the tranquility of the nature preserve make this hike an inspiring, energizing experience. Pack sun protection and plan to go during the morning or evening, as there is very little shade on the trail. Bring water for yourself and any other people or pets accompanying you to avoid dehydration. Bear in mind that the path is popular with bicyclists so try to keep to the right to let them past. Be sure to stop at the Back Bay Lookout along the North-East bend of the trail for some breathtaking views.
5. Deer Canyon Loop Trail
Unexpectedly, Newport Beach offers quite a few opportunities to commune with nature. The Deer Canyon Loop Trail is a great example of the city’s efforts to protect the natural environment nestled within the area’s coveted neighborhoods and highbrow shopping and dining establishments. The hiking trail is located along the Newport Coast community and within the Crystal Cove State Park. This path is well known amongst bikers as a thrilling ride through the beautiful coastal mountain setting.
6. Coastal Peak Park’s Bommer Trail (Crystal Cove State Park)
This trail will get your heart rate up while you enjoy breathtaking vistas of the ocean, beach and city below from atop the seaside hills. The route is not recommended for beginners. Along the trail you’ll pass by plenty of coastal shrubbery and animals. You will encounter plenty of mountain bikers here and throughout the Crystal Cove State Park. Don’t fret about morning clouds, as they will likely clear up by mid-day to reveal perfect blue sky. Bommer Trail is just one of many routes in the Crystal Cove State Park to enjoy.
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