This ecological reserve is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the beach cities, making it the perfect place to explore some of Orange County's natural beauty. 

The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is one of our favorite spots to capture the sunset against the backdrop of the Santa Anna Mountains.  

There are several places to enter the reserve along Irvine Avenue, but the easiest way find parking and reach the location is to simply use the official parking lot of the  preserve on the corner of University Drive and Irvine Avenue.

To create the image of the mountains with the curve of the river in the foreground (pictured above), simply enter the trail at the west side of the parking lot and head down about 3/4 of a mile.

Here are the exact coordinates of the location: 33°38'46.61"N  , 117°53'29.59"W

The park is open every day from 7 a.m. to Sunset, and no fees are collected at this time. 

For more information about the preserve and a park map, you can visit the OC Parks site here.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Walking Shoes
  • Water
  • Flashlight
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Activities Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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