On a hot summer day, heading to the coast is a popular way to cool down. However, you don't have to fight beach crowds to benefit from the cooler temperatures if you head over to Buck Gully Reserve in Newport Beach. There you'll find shady trails along the bottom of a small canyon that many don't even know exists in the beach city.
Buck Gully Reserve is owned by the City of Newport Beach, with nearly 5 miles of winding trails through the 1,200 acre canyon. The trails wind through lush native vegetation, and even pass an active Water Wise Native Plant Demonstration project, managed by Irvine Ranch Conservancy in partnership with City staff. The project area has many varieties of native plants along a slope, to give neighbors and visitors the chance to see how these types of drought-resistant and drought-tolerant plants look and grow.
Teens and adults with free time this summer can volunteer for various habitat restoration activities happening in Buck Gully during the monthly First Friday Restoration activity. From seed collection to removing invasive weeds, volunteers are always welcome to help support the health of this sensitive habitat. Volunteers work side-by-side with Conservancy scientists who are actively managing the restoration. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn about native plants.
Another great way to learn about plants while enjoying Buck Gully is during the educational Flora and Fauna of Buck Gully activity. This nature walk is led by a trained docent who will explain the importance of native plants and help identify the beautiful natives along the trail. There will be many stops on this walk to enjoy the views. To explore Buck Gully in the evening, sign up for the Upper Loop Evening Hike, where the views around the gully change quickly as the sun starts to set.
All docent-led activities and volunteer activities are free and require pre-registration at www.LetsGoOutside.org/Activities. To find Buck Gully programs, click the "All Areas" menu and select Buck Gully Reserve. For a map of the trails open daily to visitors, click here.