The Back Bay area of Newport Beach describes the inland area, which connects the Upper Newport Bay with Newport Harbor. If you seek a peaceful retreat with a chance to observe nature without straying too far from the city, then this is the place for you.
A paved trail runs along the south side of the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve. With 752-acre acres of marshlands and immense bluffs, this is one of the few estuaries left in Southern California. It’s the place where fresh and saltwater meet.
Newport Beach Back Bay Loop Trail
The Newport Beach Back Bay Loop trail is just under three miles long from the vista viewpoint on East Bluff Drive to Newport Dunes Resort. The loop is the last section of the 22-mile Mountains to Sea Trail, a national recreational trail. Running from the rugged mountains near Irvine Regional Park to Newport Beach, California.
Back Bay Loop by Car
Newport Beach Back Bay Loop is a place for hikers, runners, cyclists, nature lovers, and cars. While the trail is best enjoyed on foot, it’s possible to drive this section of the trail. The road is only from west to east, starting at Jamboree Road and Back Bay Drive. The Speed limit is 15 mph. There are several turnouts where you can stop and enjoy the view. At the midway point, there is a parking lot and restroom facilities.
Upper Newport Bay Kayaking
Back Bay is the home of nearly 200 birds and serves as a sanctuary for migrating flocks. The back bay is also an important fishery habitat. If water is your passion, you can rent a kayak or SUP from the Newport Aquatic Center. Kayaking is an interesting way to enjoy the beauty of nature of the Upper Bay Ecological Preserve.
Muth Interpretive Center
On the North East side of Upper Newport Bay, you will find the Muth Interpretive Center. This 10,000 square foot educational facility is built into a bluff side, which affords full views of Newport Bay. The center is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. You can reach the Muth Interpretive Center via the Bay View Trail or dive there along Irvine Avenue.
Newport Dunes Newport Back Bay
In the lower part of the Back Bay is Newport Dunes witch features an RV campground, summer waterpark, boat rentals, and boat launch. Cottages are available if you don’t own an RV and the boat launch is suitable for all-size watercraft from jet skis to Ocean Going fishing boats.
The Back Bay Bistro at the Newport Dunes Resort offers elegant dining for all ages with a waterfront view. Parking is free, and they offer guest slips for boaters.
Newport Aquatic Center
The Newport Aquatic Center is located at White Cliffs Drive on the Northern side of the bay. Here you can rent one and two-person kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The Newport Bay Conservancy offers 2-hour guided kayak tours with a Naturalist every Saturday and Sunday that depart from the Aquatic Center. Book a Kayak tour here.
Pearson’s Port Fresh Fish Barge
So if you’ve worked up an appetite with all of this fun on the Back Bay Loop, we recommend stopping by Pearson’s Port. If fresh fish is on your dinner menu, check out Pearson’s Port, a floating shack that sells fresh fish, live crab, and lobster at the Newport Beach Back Bay entrance.
Parking Newport Beach Back Bay Loop
There are several parking areas near the trail. The first one is at Eastbluff-Jamboree. The earlier you arrive, the closer you will be able to park to the trail entrance.
The second area is at Big Canyon in the center of the loop. You will have to drive along one way Back Bay Drive to reach these parking lots. Finally, you can park along both sides of Back Bay Drive adjacent to Newport Dunes. All three parking areas are free.