Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve represent approximately 1,000 acres of open space. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve surrounds the Ecological Reserve. The park includes the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve totals approximately 135 acres. The Nature Preserve is made up of the bluffs surrounding the Bay. Three sensitive species use the bluffs: The California Gnatcatcher, San Diego Cactus Wren, and Burrowing Owl. Two important plant communities are found on the bluffs - grasslands and coastal sage scrub. Upper Newport Ecological Reserve totals 752 acres. This coastal wetland, one of the largest in southern California , is renowned as one of the finest bird watching sites in North America. During winter migration up to 35,000 birds may be using the Bay at one time. It is home to six rare or endangered species: Light Footed Clapper Rail, Brown Pelican, Belding's Savannah Sparrow, Black Rail, Peregrine Falcon and California Least Tern. The Bay is home to one endangered plant species - Saltmarsh Bird's Beak. Considered a "critical estuary" habitat - Upper Newport Bay is one of the most pristine remaining estuaries in Southern California.
Of all county facilities, Upper Newport Bay is one of the best in Orange County for recreation and wildlife viewing. Upper Newport Bay is a Mecca for birders, joggers, bicyclists, hikers, horseback riders, educators...and more! The availability of camping at Newport Dunes Resort makes Upper Newport Bay a desirable destination for families, as well as individuals.
Come visit Upper Newport Bay's Muth Interpretive Center. Located in the County's premier nature preserve, Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach features the area's natural beauty within a state-of-the-art facility.
Spring is here, and that means longer hours, warmer temperatures and more people – and wildlife – out in the parks.
Parks open later: Spring-summer hours, during Daylight Saving Time, mean parks close at 9 p.m. or sunset.
Wildlife sightings: Park rangers have reported increased sightings of snakes, including rattlesnakes. Be sure to keep yourself – and your dog, where permitted – on the trail and aware of your surroundings to avoid an encounter. Also watch out for ticks clinging to long brush and grasses.
Wildflowers: Take all the photos you want from the trail, but never pick wildflowers – leave them for others to enjoy and to spread their seeds for next season.
Warmer temperatures: While it’s always important to be prepared, warmer weather makes essentials like water and sunscreen even more important.
Wildflowers are now blooming in OC Parks. Please follow all park rules while you enjoy the flowers. Make sure to stay on marked trails and do not pick the flowers. Click the link for a video about wildflower viewing.
The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) is an invasive beetle that attacks common native and landscape trees, leading to branch dieback and overall decline. This can have a devastating effect on local trees, and you may see some being treated or removed in County parks.
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