Get out and explore Buck Gully with three stunning hikes, assist with habitat restoration, learn about plant life

Taking a trek in the Buck Gully Reserve, which connects Corona del Mar and Newport Coast, is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the cooler autumn weather. Explore this 300-acre natural habitat on foot, with three hikes led by the Irvine Ranch Conservancy staff and an opportunity to assist in habitat restoration.

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Several bridges provide vantage points for taking in reserve vistas

Buck Gully Loop Hike: Come and explore the entire Buck Gully Reserve trail system on Tuesdays, June 18, Aug. 6 and Sept. 24 from 8-11:30 a.m. Beginning from the OASIS Senior Center, you’ll hike up through the almost three-mile length of the canyon, then along San Joaquin Hills Road for about a mile, stopping at Canyon Watch Park, where you will take in the panoramic view of the reserve and the Pacific coastline before descending back into the canyon along the Bobcat Trail. This hike is 6 miles; duration, 3.5 hours with high-moderate difficulty and conducted at a walking pace, approximately three miles per hour. It is geared to those 16+ years of age. This hike is free, but registration is required. Meet at the OASIS Senior Center auxiliary lot at 5th and Marguerite in Corona del Mar. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.

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Photos by Emily Spain

The stream is running, making for a memorable late afternoon/early evening hike

Buck Gully Upper Loop Evening Hike: Explore the richness of Buck Gully Reserve as you hike during the beautiful early evening hours on Tuesdays, July 9 and Aug. 20 from 4-6:30 p.m. The stream is running, and the rich plant and animal life are enjoying the cool, shady canyon making for an evening hike in a natural oasis amid the suburban surroundings. Walk along San Joaquin Hills Road, which overlooks Buck Gully for the first mile, then drop down into the canyon on the Bobcat Trail, looping back through the upper end of the gully along the Buck Gully Trail. This activity is conducted at a walking pace, approximately 3 miles per hour. The distance is 4 miles; duration, 2.5 hours with moderate difficulty. This hike is open to those 12+ years and older. This hike is free, but registration is required. Staging area is the Newport Coast Community Center at 6401 San Joaquin Hills Road. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.

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Photos by Emily Spain

Enjoy panoramic views as you take in the canyon’s natural beauty

Bridges of Buck Gully Hike: Buck Gully is a natural, coastal canyon which opened up to the public in 2012 with the installation of four bridges to allow for safe public access. Discover the bridges on Tuesdays, July 23 and Sept. 10 from 8-11:30 a.m., which facilitate exploration of the Buck Gully Reserve, and also provide viewing platforms from which to pause and observe the abundant life in and around the stream. The guided program starts with a short walk from the OASIS Senior Center to the beginning of the Buck Gully trail, offering a visually dramatic entrance into this special canyon. Open to those 16+ years and older. Conducted at a walking pace at approximately 3 miles per hour. Distance is 5 miles; duration is 3.5 hours with moderate difficulty. This hike is free, but registration is required. Meet at the OASIS Senior Center auxiliary lot at 5th and Marguerite in Corona del Mar. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.

Fourth Friday Habitat Restoration in Buck Gully on Fridays, June 28, July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 17 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Birds and other wildlife need healthy habitat to thrive. Simple things like planting native plants or removing non-native plants can greatly improve habitat for wildlife. You can be part of that positive impact while enjoying the beauty of Buck Gully. Come help with a variety of activities ranging from seed collection to weeding invasive plants. This activity takes place on sloped terrain and sturdy hiking boots are highly recommended. All training, tools and gloves will be provided to ensure your safety and comfort. Rattlesnakes are occasionally seen here and generally avoid people, but protective gear will be provided. Walking pace is approximately 3 mph with a distance of one to five miles and a duration of three hours. The difficulty is moderate. This is geared to 18 years+. Meet at the OASIS Senior Center auxiliary lot at 5th and Marguerite in Corona del Mar. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.


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