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5 Summer Hikes in Newport Beach

July 11, 2023

With miles of stunning coastline and scenic natural spaces, Newport Beach offers an abundance of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. While the sandy shores are undeniably inviting, especially in the summertime, our city’s assortment of hiking trails is perfect for those who want to get their steps in and avoid the beach crowds. So lace up your sneakers and join us as we explore five of the best summer hikes in Newport Beach!

El Moro Canyon Loop Trail

Crystal Cove State Park is undeniably one of Southern California’s most stunning natural spaces, making it a superb place to hike and explore. The park’s El Moro Canyon Loop Trail is a moderately challenging 5-mile loop that winds through lush canyons, providing glimpses of blooming wildflowers, towering sycamores and trickling streams. Ascending the ridges (an 800-foot elevation gain) rewards hikers with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The trail starts and ends at the El Moro Visitor Center just north of the Crystal Cove State Park Campground.

Moro Canyon

Back Bay Loop Trail

If a peaceful walk is more your jam, escape the hustle and bustle of the city on the tranquil Back Bay Loop Trail. This 10.5-mile loop offers a mix of relatively flat paved and dirt paths, making it perfect for a morning stroll. As you wander through the scenic wetlands of the Upper Newport Bay Nature Reserve, you’ll enjoy views of the shimmering Back Bay and encounter several bird species. The trail has multiple entry points and also features several scenic stops at places like Upper Castaways Park, the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center and the Back Bay Science Center.

Buck Gully Trail

Tucked in the back canyons of Newport Coast near Corona del Mar, Buck Gully Trail is a path perfect for walking, hiking, running and mountain biking. This 2.5-mile trail meanders through a serene coastal canyon, enveloping you in a lush canopy of oak and sycamore trees. And despite being relatively close to civilization, this hike feels fairly peaceful and remote. Follow the creek as it cascades over boulders, creating a soothing soundtrack for your adventure. With its shaded paths and diverse flora, Buck Gully Trail offers a peaceful retreat from the summer heat. 

Crystal Cove Double Loop

If you consider yourself a seasoned hiker, the Crystal Cove Double Loop is a challenging trail worth the trek. Great for hiking and running, this 12-mile loop is open year-round and boasts stunning views of the park’s backcountry wilderness and the ocean. Be sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water—there is minimal shade on this trail, and the sun can take its toll in the summertime. Another thing to note: no dogs are allowed on this trail, so be sure to leave Fido at home.

Castaway Park

Looking for an easy hike to do with your pup? Castaway Park is a 1.3-mile loop that runs along the bluffs and takes an average of 24 min to complete. Dogs are welcome here and can even be let off-leash in certain areas. The best part? This path boasts stunning views of the Back Bay and harbor! Both ends of the trail meet at Dover Drive, so hikers can make a loop by continuing along the pathway.

Courtesy of the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor

Written by: Kaylin Waizinger

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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