Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve


Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve is a 752-acre coastal wetland habitat in Orange County consisting of mudflats, salt marshes, and riparian environments. Newport Bay is an estuary where freshwater meets the Pacific Ocean providing fertile resources for birds, fish, plants, and animals. The reserve is the largest of the few remaining estuaries in southern California and protects endangered plants and animals like the California Least Tern. It is a stop along the Pacific Flyway, a place where migrating and foraging shorebirds rest during the winter months as they fly south to warmer climates.

Educational events are commonplace at the Back Bay Science Center, which is located within the ecological reserve. Open during scheduled events, the center regularly offers educational opportunities for children and adults to learn more about the surrounding ecosystem and history of the area.

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve allows visitors to enjoy the reserve by walking, hiking, horseback riding, biking, and bird watching. You can also explore the reserve by canoe or kayak.

To learn more about the reserve or to get involved with its preservation, please visit the Newport Bay Conservancy.

Did you know? While nearly 200 bird species live in the reserve, during winter months up to 30,000 migrating birds from Canada and Alaska can be seen there on any given day.

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy OC Parks