Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
2301 University Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

The park is open Every day from 7 a.m. to Sunset

The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center is open
Tuesday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Monday and major holidays
No fees are collected at this time.

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.


January 3, 2018 
Upper Newport Bay Parking Lot Rehabilitation

Starting Jan. 22 through late February, OC Public Works will complete a rehabilitation of the Upper Newport Bay parking lot. The rehabilitation includes removing existing decomposed granite and replacing it with sand-colored pervious concrete, installing wheel stops, and striping parking stalls.

The parking lot will be closed at all times for the duration of the construction period, including weekends. Park users should plan to park at alternative locations. OC Public Works will install an electronic message board at the parking lot entrance two weeks prior to construction to notify park users.

August 28, 2017 
East Bluff Erosion Repairs

OC Public Works will be making repairs on the east bluff adjacent to Back Bay Drive. Back Bay Drive will be open to the public during construction, except during a two -week period in September 2017 when the road will be closed to vehicular traffic. Pedestrians and bicyclists may continue to use the trail during that time in adherence to safety flag person

February 22, 2018 
Extended Spring-Summer Hours Begin March 11

The clocks spring forward early March 11, marking the beginning of daylight-saving time and OC Parks’ spring-summer operating schedule. Hours for most regional parks will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Please click the link for more details.

August 19, 2016 
OC Parks Mobile App Now Available

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The OC Parks mobile application is now available to download. The new app makes it easy to explore all that the County regional and wilderness parks have to offer.

Using the OC Parks app for iOS or Android, you can easily get outside and find a park near you with the most detailed, accurate maps of all regional, wilderness, beach and historic parks and regional trails operated by the County of Orange. The app also offers detailed park descriptions and photos.

The mobile app lets users easily locate the closest playgrounds, parking and restrooms in each park. Search recent OC Parks news, events and alerts regarding park access, weather, trail conditions and more.

December 4, 2015 
Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer in OC Parks Trees

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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