5 Hikes to Try in Newport Beach
The beautiful coastal city of Newport Beach is known for many things, from upscale shopping to its fantastic food scene. Its boat-filled harbor and two piers are favorites for ocean lovers and dazzling sunset chasers alike. Life on the coast is better in just about every way—even for hikers! Here are 5 hikes we think you should try while in Newport Beach.
Mountains to Sea Trail
This is a great hike for people looking to better get to know the region. The 22 miles of trail are mostly more-or-less flat since the intent is more to showcase and connect different spaces preserved by the Irvine Ranch, a historic site.
The well-known Back Bay Trail is actually a part of this larger trail, and you’ll find a Science Center located on Shellmaker Island. Overall, this is a fairly simple hike, but great for enjoying the Newport Beach weather and views, and for getting to know what the region has to offer.
Buck Gully Trail
This 5.2 mile trail is fairly short, but offers just enough of an incline to be a good workout. This is a great path to spot some of the local wildlife, from wildflowers to birds and other small animals. Make sure to bring your own water and use the bathroom before you head out, though!
The Buck Gully Trail is also a great chance to get to know the larger Buck Gully Reserve, a natural coastal canyon in the city. The Reserve has been an important part of the city’s history, passing ownership from the Irvine Company to the Country and, finally, to the City.
Newport Pier to Balboa Pier
Especially for visitors and newcomers to Newport Beach, the short walk from Newport Pier to Balboa Pier is an important one to get to know. It’s not a particularly taxing workout, but it’s an easy and active way of getting a look at what beach and coastal culture is all about.
Along the path, you’ll find everything from a surf school to a fresh fish market, as well as plenty of amazing local restaurants. Dory Deli and Il Farro are a couple of local favorites. Near the Balboa Pier end, you’ll also be able to check out the famous Balboa Fun Zone.
Crystal Cove State Park
This park is huge, nearly 4000 acres, and is home to some of the most beautiful views in Orange County—and maybe even in the state. Over 3 miles of natural beach makes it a great spot for surfers, swimmers, sunbathers, and, of course, hikers!
The 3 miles Bluff Trail takes you right along the coast and gives you Instagram-perfect views of the Pacific all along the way. Although the trail is somewhat short and relatively flat, it’s also unshaded, so don’t underestimate it! Make sure to cool off with a refreshing shake from the Crystal Cove Shake Shack.
Moro Ridge Loop
This trail is also in Crystal Cove State Park, but certainly deserves a section of its own. Experienced hikers looking for a challenge will love the 900 ft elevation gain of this 9.5-mile loop. Different trails intertwine throughout, allowing for a unique path every time. Making it to the top of the climb pays off with stunning views from the Emerald Bay Overlook. The climb back down is also rewarding, with beautiful views of the Pacific.
All things considered, Newport Beach is a great spot for hikers of all skill levels. Beginners and experts alike will be able to find a trail that suits their interests and skill sets, and the stunning views are always a welcome distraction from the tiring treks. Happy hiking!
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