A Traveler’s Guide to Hiking in Newport Beach, CA

Newport Beach

Newport Beach, California has been described as a haven for hikers. The landscape and terrain variations in the area give you a range of choices with designated trails and different levels of difficulty. The ocean breeze is constant regardless of the trail you choose. It’s a way to connect with the natural world while getting a great workout. We offer our guide to the wonders of Newport Beach to point out the best trail options with the information you need to plan and customize your hiking adventures.

1. Castaways Park Loop

This hiking trail is a distance of 1.3 miles. It’s an easy hike for beginners with tons of beautiful views. It starts just above the Back Bay on the bluffs and it takes you through a flat paved path that presents some of the most beautiful views of the bay and the lovely homes in the area. This is a dog friendly trail that is recommended for families. A notable attraction on this trail is the 1st Battalion Memorial dedicated to the 1st Marines in honor of their service to the country.

2. Civic Center Park Hiking Trail

This is an easy hiking trail that is 1.23 miles in distance. It’s great for families and for beginners. The path takes you along the natural wetlands in the area and it’s loaded with sculpture exhibits, and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and of the city of Newport Beach. The park below is the only designated dog park in the city with plenty of shade and water for both humans and dogs.

3. Balboa Island Loop Trail

This is an easy trail that is 2.5 miles in distance. It’s located on Balboa Island and provides a paved path that winds around the Island’s border in a loop. While on the trail, you’ll enjoy lovely views of Newport harbor and the cottages that line the shoreline. This path is for walkers only and neither bikes nor skateboards are allowed.

4 Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve Loop

This is an intermediate level of difficulty trail that is 3.5 miles in length. The path takes you near a variety of plant and animal species as it winds around the bluffs that offer scenic views of Back Bay. Joggers, bikers, and walkers enjoy this trail. A notable attraction on the trail is the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center that is equipped with an observatory deck with multiple interactive exhibits for the entire family.

5. Crystal Cove State Park Trail

The Crystal Cove State Park offers miles of amazing coastline views. This is a round-trip walk around the park that is an intermediate hike of 6 miles. Three miles are at the coastline, and a path travel parallel to the ocean leading you through the natural surroundings with rocky coves and cliffs that lead to the ocean in places. The tidal pools and amazing views are the most notable features of this hike.

6. Hard version of the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve Loop

Those interested in taking on a more difficult version of this trail can take the 10.5 mile loop that winds around the Back Bay. It offers stunning views of Back Bay and diverse terrains for a more hard-core workout.

7. Crystal Cove State Park El Moro Canyon/Moro Ridge Loop

this is a 9.5 mile round trip around the park. It’s a more difficult hike with uphill and downhill places on the trail. It’s more challenging with a gain of 900 feet with intertwining trails that make the trip longer and more difficult. It’s worth the effort when you reach the highest part at the Emerald Bay Overlook. The hardest part is over at this portion of the trip. You can look forward to a downhill hike where you’ll enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

8. Pacific Ridge Trailhead

The Pacific Ridge Trailhead is the beginning of a network of trails that are ideal hiking paths for families. Some of the paths are easy, while others are more challenging. The Pacific Ridge Trailhead Loop is a 10 mile hike in distance that will take you though many beautiful viewpoints with wide paths that are clearly marked, and easy to travel, but the distance may become a challenge for some. There isn’t any shade so you’ll need to wear a hat and bring along snacks and water.

9. Bommer Ridge Trail

The Boomer Ridge Trail starts at the entrance of the Pacific Ridge Trailhead. It takes you on a loop that circles around and then leads you back to your car. You’ll see a variety of paths that branch off if you’re interested in taking longer hikes, but the majority of these will lead to to one of the many campgrounds in the area.

Tips for Hikers

It’s always wise to bring a hat, sunglasses, a small first aid kit, and water and snacks when hiking the longer trails. It’s also important to have a cell phone in the unlikely event that you experience a health concern or accident. The majority of trails in our guide of Newport Beach are rated as being safe for families. We’ve indicated those that are more challenging in their difficulty levels. The easy trails are ideal for families or anyone else who is fit enough for hiking. Those with health issues may want to think twice about the longer and harder treks. We hope that you enjoy your time in Newport Beach, and see all the magnificent sites that this area has to offer hiking enthusiasts.


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