Around 1,000 acres of open space make up the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve in Costa Mesa, CA. The Ecological Reserve is surrounded by the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. The Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center is located within the park. The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is around 135 acres in size. The bluffs that encircle the Bay make up the Nature Preserve. The California Gnatcatcher, San Diego Cactus Wren, and Burrowing Owl are three sensitive species that frequent the bluffs. The bluffs are home to two key plant communities: grasslands and coastal sage scrub. The Upper Newport Ecological Reserve is 752 acres in size. (Image Source – California Beaches)
This coastal wetland, one of the largest in southern California, is known for being one of the best places in the world to go bird watching. At any given time during the winter migration, up to 35,000 birds may be using the Bay. Light-footed Clapper Rail, Brown Pelican, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, Black Rail, Peregrine Falcon, and California Least Tern are among the six uncommon or endangered species that call it home. One endangered plant species, the Saltmarsh Bird’s Beak, can be found in the Bay. Upper Newport Bay is one of the last remaining pristine estuaries in Southern California, and it is designated as a “critical estuary” environment. (Source: Orange County Parks)
There are amenities like Bike Routes, Classrooms, Conference Center, Dogs Permitted on leashes, Equestrian Trails, Gift Shops, Hiking Trails, Interpretive Programs Center, Restrooms, and Scenic overlook.
Upper Newport Bay, out of all the county facilities, is one of the greatest for recreation and wildlife viewing in Orange County. Birders, joggers, bicyclists, hikers, horseback riders, educators, and more go to Upper Newport Bay. Upper Newport Bay is a popular destination for families and individuals due to the availability of camping at Newport Dunes Resort.