Biking With the Back Bay Birds

Bicycling the Back Bay Loop Trail in Newport Beach

Biking the 10-mile Newport Beach Back Bay Loop Trail is a great way to see the quiet side of Newport Beach—the side that isn’t beach. Instead you’ll ride through 1,000 acres of coastal wetlands known as the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve.

Along the way you’ll get a bike’s-eye view of resident waterfowl and some of the 35,000 migratory birds—including great blue herons, ospreys, and western grebes—that pass through the vast wetlands.

Back Bay Loop Trail Newport Beach

The trailhead is off of Bayside Drive just outside the Newport Dunes Marina parking lot and is marked by a bike path sign that’s slightly obscured by foliage.

Back Bay Loop Trail Newport Beach

You’ll ride through an alley between two neighborhoods for 0.7 mile and then make a left on Back Bay Drive. Continue straight to stay on the bike path. After the first mile, Newport’s Back Bay wetlands are on full display for the next 6 miles of the ride. You’ll have chances to get up close to the water as well as opportunities for panoramic views.

Back Bay Loop Trail Newport Beach

At 4 miles into the ride make a left onto Eastbluff Drive, cruise down the hill, and make a left at Jamboree onto the bike trail to the west side of the road. Stay to the right at the fork to cross the bridge along Jamboree. Stay on the sidewalk briefly before making a quick left back into the eco reserve. Ride along the Back Bay Loop Trail for 2.3 miles until it links to Irvine Avenue. Cruise down Irvine for 1.4 miles and turn left on Westcliff Drive, then make a right on Dover Street. Follow Dover to Coast Highway and make a left. Within a half-mile, make another left on Bayside Drive to return to where you started. How many birds did you count?

JAVA REWARD: No trip to Newport Beach is complete without a stop at Newport Coffee Company. This coffeehouse claims they’re the big wave of specialty coffee, and with sourced roasts from Stumptown Coffee, they live up to their claim. Gelato more your speed? They’ve got you covered.

From CA-55 S, get onto CA-73 S and take Exit 15 toward Jamboree Rd. (The toll does not apply to this section of Hwy. 73.) Turn right on Jamboree Rd., continue 3.3 miles, turn right on CA-1, and then another right onto N. Bayside Dr. Curbside parking along N. Bayside Dr. is available for free. Newport Coffee Company is at 104 Mc Fadden Pl., Newport Beach.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

    View
  2. Cross It Off Your Bucket List

    Crosstown Trail San Francisco may be one of the most beautiful city walks in America, passing through less-visited nooks and crannies while also taking in greatest hits, including mosaic stairways.

    View
  3. Kirby Your Enthusiasm

    Just west of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin is one of the Bay's most-accessible secluded beaches. Kirby Cove is accessed by hiking or biking a 1-mile fire road down to the beach, where the reward is an all-time classic Golden Gate view.

    View
  4. Napa's Wild Side

    It’s wine country’s Amazon. Cutting 50 miles through the famous Napa Valley and emptying into San Pablo Bay, the gentle Napa River is an ecological—and recreational—delight. And Napa Valley Paddle helps you enjoy it.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Weekend Sherpa Podcast: Take it Outside

    Adventure for your earbuds. What's new in the world of the outdoors? Listen to Weekend Sherpa co-founders discuss local hikes, beaches, bike rides, camping spots and all kinds of travel and adventure in California and beyond!

    View
  2. Secret Trail at Torrey Pines

    Find cliff climbs, sandy strolls, and secret hikes throughout “America’s finest sandy stretch" at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego County.

    View
  3. Secluded Royale

    Panoramic coastal views and a killer leg workout combine on this 2.7-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to secluded Coast Royale Beach in Orange County

    View
  4. Border Field State Park

    Border Field State Park is the southernmost point in California as well as one of the last beautiful undeveloped coastlines in the state. Visit this natural refuge for a 4.5-mile hike featuring important history and wildlife habitats, plus stunning SoCal beach scenery.

    View