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Hikes In and Around Orange County

Buck Gully Trail Guide

  • 5.2 miles - Easy Effort
  • Or: 4 miles to end of singletrack
  • 2 Hours (Total)
  • 460 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 600 feet
  • No Dogs Allowed

The Buck Gully Trail is a peaceful and fun hike through a coastal watershed located in Newport Beach's foothills. What makes the hike remarkable is that the 1,200 acres of Buck Gully Reserve are tucked in between all the development around Newport Beach. So even though this hike is close to civilization, you feel like you are a world away as you hike your way up the canyon. It's an easy hike, great for all levels and families. And while the trail itself doesn't offer ocean views, I'll show you an optional loop that offers vistas to Palos Verdes and Long Beach.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Buck Gully Trail
  • How to Get to the Buck Gully Trail
  • Insider Tips & Alternate Distances

Where to Park for the Buck Gully Trail

While there are two ends of the Buck Gully Trail, the traditional starting point is in Corona del Mar, which is the only trailhead that offers parking. Use this trailhead address:
872 Poppy Ave, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

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There's street parking around the trailhead. This is a residential neighborhood, so please be respectful.
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Be mindful of no-parking areas and red curbs.

There are no bathrooms at the trailhead or on the trail, but the City of Newport Beach says that you can use the restrooms at the nearby Oasis Senior Center.

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Gear for the Hike

You don't need any special gear to do this hike. Light hiking gear or fitness clothes work great. After rain, the trail can get muddy, so ideally you'll wear hiking footwear.

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can see my review here.
Gear Hoka Speedgoat 5
HOKA Speedgoat 5These are a great balance of comfort and performance. The high stack height leaves my feet feeling great after a hike.

Check out the complete list here.

Buck Gully Trail Maps

The trail is easy to follow and well-marked with trail signs at the junctions. You'll share the trail with mountain bikes, but they are only allowed to go one way, uphill, so they're never flying by. In the spring the area comes alive with wildflowers.

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

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The trail is one-way for bikers. And the trail is well-worn and easy to follow.

3D Map

Buck Gully Trail Guide 3d Map
The trail winds up along Buck Gully, and never gets really steep. The optional loop back, with ocean views, is the orange line, and follows the sidewalk on San Joaquin Road.

Buck Gully Trail Hike Directions

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The trailhead is easy to spot. Head past the gate and down the paved path.
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The first few minutes are paved and go downhill.
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But soon you'll see the official start of the Buck Gully Trail with the trail board.
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Right away the trail meanders through trees and brush, and offers nice shade.
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You'll be following the Buck Gully creek up through the canyon, and you'll see several side trails along the way that head to the water. Stay on the main trail and continue straight.
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If you look up in the hills you'll occasionally catch a glimpse of houses, but otherwise you'll be immersed in nature.
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Soon you'll reach the first bridge. There are three bridges on this hike, and four bridges in the Buck Gully Reserve. The aluminum bridges were all helicoptered in when the trail was built.
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The trail gets really pretty when it cuts through hedges and groves.
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Some sections are open and exposed, but it's still scenic as you gradually make your way up the canyon.
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Cross over bridge number two.
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Keep your eyes open on the sides of the trail for matted down grass and brush like this, which is an animal bedding area (guessing mule deer in this case). The Buck Gully Reserve is a wildlife corridor and home to deer, bobcat, and other small mammals like rabbits and squirrels.
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At the junction with the Bobcat Trail, bear to the right. If you do the optional loop at the top, you'll come back down here on the Bobcat Trail (more later).
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As you make your way up the canyon you'll notice the uphills a little more as you continue.
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Cross over the last bridge.
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There's a bench on the other side of the bridge if you need a breather.
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The trail heads uphill for the last stretch.
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And soon you'll reach the end of the single-track part of the Buck Gully Trail.

If you just want to do 4 miles and avoid the fire road portion, you can turn around here.

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Otherwise continue straight. The trail is a wide fire road now.
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At the junction, make the left toward San Joaquin Road.
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The fire road heads uphill and out of the canyon.
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And soon you'll reach the end of the Buck Gully Trail on San Joaquin Road.

From here you have a few options.

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Or you can just turn around and hike back the way you hiked up.

Need More Info?

  • Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.