Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach

4.6
#3 of 9 in Parks in Huntington Beach
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.SettingThe 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
235 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Bolsa Chica is a small area just North of Huntington Beach Dog Back on Pacific Coast Highway that provides visitors an opportunity to observe, photograph and relax in a little oasis on the way to Seal...  more »
  • I would recommend coming at low/rising tide- I came at high AM tide & it was still awesome!!! Definitely worth it to visit!  more »
  • We come here to bird and photograph, as do many. Wonderful wide, well maintained trails and bridges. Much to see and signage is pretty good, too. A great birding spot, check e-bird for most recent sig...  more »
Google
  • I come here all the time. It's a great place to see all manner of shorebirds and water fowl. Almost every possible duck comes through here at some point on their migration, as does pretty much every other bird that migrates on the Pacific flyway. In addition you can almost always see terns, various herons, numerous sanderlings, great egrets, cormorants, pelicans, gulls, etc. The walking paths are well maintained, and there are plenty of benches for sitting.
  • Great stop while driving down the 1. Small parking lot with portable restrooms (not very clean). Lots of birds to look at and options to take a lite walk around to view the area. Perfect for kids and adults since there are so many birds to look at and the kids can safely walk around. There are scattered benches throughout and informational signs. I woukd love to come at different times of the year because I am sure there is always something new to look at.
  • Nice ecological reserve with a lot of birds. Parking is not well maintained but is free. Mobile toilets are not clean. Some VTT riders enter the park and degrade paths. Many benches to observe wildlife. Some petrol derriks in the park... Good place for walking or running.
  • Great place for shore and sea bird watching. Slightly tough for bird photography as you're always above the birds on a berm (and it's illegal to move down to the shoreline) but still great looks and great photos. Perfect for BIF (bird in flight) shots of terns, ducks, etc. Even saw a peregrine put up a flock of willets!
  • It's not for everybody, it's rustic and the walking/biking paths are uneven and intertwining. That is part of what makes it so great though! It's as natural and wild a spot as people have ever constructed or 'fixed' after long term industrial use (in this case oil drilling/pumping). Little kids and mean pets are best left at home, unless you're willing to carry one and/or muzzle the other. You can pick which one gets the muzzle....
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