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.
UPDATED MAY 21, 2020 - In an effort to minimize the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on park patrons, staff, and the Orange County community at large, and consistent with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Governor’s office, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA), OC Parks is operating in the following manner as of Monday, May 21, 2020.
The clocks spring forward early March 8, marking the beginning of daylight-saving time and OC Parks’ spring-summer operating schedule. Most regional parks will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wilderness parks and selected regional parks are open at 7 a.m. and close at sunset year round.
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