Many Newport Beach residents have enjoyed the trails in the Buck Gully Reserve, but now the trails are a lot more user-friendly – and habitat-friendly. The trail renovation project, made possible by the City of Newport Beach, State of California and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, included the dramatic placement of four bridges by helicopter, as well as other improvements along the three-mile gully.
Buck Gully Trail System
The bridges span areas that were previously traversed in ways that were not optimum for the traveler, or for the ecosystem. Conservationists and planners call the trails like the ones originally forged in Buck Gully “social trails,” which are paths that create opportunities for weed invasion and trail erosion.
In sections where a social trail needed to be moved, the trail was re-routed in a way that blends seamlessly into the environment. For instance, one social trail was close to the stream that runs the length of Buck Gully, causing erosion that could affect vegetation and wildlife. The creek-side trail was moved to a more sustainable location, and drainage across the trails was also improved by creating retention walls, new drainage paths and sloped trails to improve runoff.
Through its partnership with the City, the Irvine Ranch Conservancy leads regular public programs in Buck Gully, including docent-led hikes, mountain bike rides, and volunteer programs such as trail maintenance and weed removal.
Buck Gully is open daily from dawn to dusk, but dogs are not allowed in the reserve. Not only does the presence of dogs disturb native wildlife routines, but dogs are also more susceptible to snake bites while on the trail.
Please visit the Irvine Ranch Conservancy's website at irlandmarks.org for more information about the Buck Gully trail system and scheduled programs.