Newport Beach Back Bay Loop

ORANGE COUNTY, SIGHTSEEING RIDE, NEWPORT BEACH BACK BAY LOOP This bike ride loops around Newport Beach’s Back Bay, a 1,000 acre ecological reserve and certainly one of the most scenic sights in Orange County. As you travel bluffs that rise over the bay, you will be treated to panoramic views while passing through grassland and coastal sage scrub. Over 35,000 species of birds pass through this estuary during winter migrations. And at times it may seem that there are that many people sharing the path with you. Sunrise and sunset are the most peaceful times to visit. This bike ride is well marked and if in doubt look for Back Bay Loop signs on posts as well as painted on the ground indicating direction. Start at Castaways Park with a jaw dropping view of harbor and bay gloriously laid out before you. Although the path that runs along the bluff is often busy with foot traffic it is well worth the inconvenience to be able to enjoy such a spectacular view. There are trails that meander through this park as well. Benches are in short supply, but if you can find one, this is a fine place to have a picnic. Once leaving the park this route travels for about a mile and a half along city streets. The stretch along Irvine Avenue is the busiest part of the ride and for about half a mile the on-street bike lane is a bit narrow with cars parked in the lane. The possibility of getting doored is very real so riders should stay alert. To visit the Upper Newport Bay Interpretive Center, turn right into the parking lot at 3.63 on the ride log. This excellent learning center offers year round programs that include guided birding tours with park rangers, restoration projects and wildlife watches. At 5.11 miles this ride runs along San Diego Creek and makes up the lower half of the Mountain to the Seas Trail. FOOD AND DRINK There are not a lot of opportunities to eat along the route itself, however along Bayside Drive where it crosses Pacific Coast Highway at 9.76 miles there are some fast food places as well as some upscale restaurants. ACCESS By bus, OCTA bus 55 makes a stop right in front of Castaways Park parking lot. By car, take CA-55, Costa Mesa Freeway, and turn left onto 16th Street. Travel for 1.2 miles before 16th Street turns into Castaways Lane, parking lot will be on your right.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
Fitness Level: Various
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Estimated Distance: 17.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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