Buck Gully Trail Guide
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance||5.2 miles (8.4 km)|
|Other Options||4 miles to end of singletrack|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||460 feet (140m)|
|Highest Elevation||600 feet (183m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Buck Gully Reserve|
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.
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
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.
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.
My Goto Hiking Footwear: La Sportiva Wildcat
If you hike a lot or just want the best (but not the most durable) hiking footwear, the Wildcat trail runner is your best move. It’s fast and light on trails, the sole gives me good grip off-trail or scrambling, and they dry quickly.
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Best Budget Day Pack: REI Co-op Flash 22 Pack
Bang for the buck, you can’t go wrong with this pack. It’s super-lightweight and big enough to carry everything for a day hike, including a water bladder. Every year REI improves this pack and after a few years, it’s really solid in every way. I pack mine in a carry-on when I travel to do hikes on trips. And if you’re into ultralight backpacking, this is also a solid choice.
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Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2021.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
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.
Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map
How are you going to navigate this hike?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable Garmin Instinct). You can also use most smartphones. Check out my navigation recommendations and resources on my top gear picks page for options at all budget levels.
Buck Gully Trail Hike Directions
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Turn By Turn Directions
If you just want to do 4 miles and avoid the fire road portion, you can turn around here.
From here you have a few options.
- If you want a snack or bathroom break, make the right and walk on the sidewalk about 5 minutes to the shopping center which has a Starbucks, supermarket, and other food options.
- If you want some ocean views, make the left and walk down the sidewalk. After about 1 mile, you’ll see a turnoff and trailhead for the Bobcat Trail. Take the Bobcat Trail downhill and it will dead end into the Buck Gully Trail after crossing a bridge.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.