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.
Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.
Latest Price on Women’s Shoe – REI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s Shoe – REI | Amazon
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.
Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get up a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 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 keep the website ad and promotion free. 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.
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
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). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.
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.
This guide last updated on March 26, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
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