Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach

#3 of 9 in Parks in Huntington Beach
Nature / Park · Hidden Gem · Wildlife Area
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is a nature reserve in the city of Huntington Beach, California. It is designated by the California Department of Fish and Game to protect a coastal wetland, with its resident threatened and endangered species. "Bolsa Chica" means "little bag" in Spanish, as the area was part of a historic Mexican land grant named Rancho La Bolsa Chica. The Reserve is also called many other names, including Bolsa Chica Lowlands, Bolsa Chica Wetlands, and Bolsa Chica Wildlife Refuge.
The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve boundaries are Warner Avenue to the north, Seapoint Avenue to the south, Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to the west, and residential development to the east.
There are two small parking lots: the north lot southeast of the intersection of Warner and PCH, and the south lot on PCH across from the entrance to Bolsa Chica State Beach. The north lot contains the Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center. It is the starting point for the Mesa Trail, which leads to the overlook and rest stop at Mesa Point. The south lot is the starting point for the 1.5mi Loop Trail, which crosses a wooden bridge, passes two overlooks, and returns to the parking lot via a sand-dune trail paralleling PCH.
The East Garden Grove Wintersburg Channel runs through the Reserve. Beginning in December 2007, flood control improvements were made by the County of Orange to reinforce the levees damaged in the rains of 2005 and protect the wetlands. In addition, the Newport–Inglewood Fault goes through the reserve.
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Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
287 reviews
  • Awesome jogging trail! Plus the backdrop of Pacific Ocean. Love to get exercise on this trail since we live quite close. Parking is very limited so recommend use Uber.  more »
  • With the recent Pandemic of COVID-19, the world has become a scary place. You can escape by visiting the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve where you can hike, run, view the wildlife, and get your...  more »
  • My family and I were in absolute awe of this magnificent place. We saw many different kinds of fish, birds and even saw stingrays! The highlight was definitely the fish jumping out of the water here and there. The wildlife was definitely thriving that day.
  • Nice place to walk and see wildlife. We stopped at the visitors center and the docent told us herons were currently nest building about .7 miles up the trail. What a fascinating experience to watch these huge birds build their nests in palm trees. An unexpected highlight of our trip to this area! I walk the reserve quite frequently and am rewarded each time. The trails are groomed with sand or rock, and are well kept. The wildlife is different each day and changes with the seasons. The bird watching is phenomenal. You may see Osprey, Owl, Red Tail Hawk, brown and white Pelican, and many other beautiful rare birds. No dogs are allowed.

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