I’ve been wanting to explore the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Our first trip turned out to be quite the adventure. The first day we went, there was a press conference in the interpretive center. There was no staff available to give us any direction on where to hike with kids. We were ignored completely. I chanced heading to the south parking lot, but it was closed. The kids and I hit Peter Green Park instead.
So I returned the next day with husband in tow. The interpretive center was closed when we arrived, but opened soon after. Again, it was staffed by one volunteer and she was busy with other guests. We waited a while and ended up heading out on our own. We’d waited long enough to explore the whole center (3 or 4 times – since we’d been the day before).
My son’s comment on our 2 mile hike (roundtrip): “They should call it hotland not wetland.” Completely our mistake for going in the middle of the day! I’m sure it’s much more enjoyable in the early morning and late afternoon hours – or in the winter or spring.
Location: It’s a small grey building at the southeast corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Warner. MAP to Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach
- The fish tank in the interpretive center. Don’t miss the small room of the main display area with more reptiles and insects.
- I imagine sunrise and sunset is a beautiful time of day with lots of waterfowl and beach views. We could see as far as Long Beach and Palos Verdes from the bluffs.
- Easy hike on a wide path–interesting historical armaments and interpretive signs about the wetlands
- Pick up a map from the center
Can you spot the Blue Heron in this photo?
- I wouldn’t recommend going in the middle of the day.
- It was a dusty hike when we went. I imagine it could be muddy in the winter. So wear appropriate shoes and bring LOTS of water.
- Huge controversy surrounding nearby development of the land near the wetlands preserve. Do a search and you’ll come up with a long and interesting history of the battle.
- Parking in a very small lot near the interpretive center off Warner and another lot further down PCH in the south parking lot.
- Dirt trails — get map from center
- Only portable toilets in the parking lot. No real restrooms. As an alternative, there’s a Jack-in-the-Box nearby and a nice Trader Joe’s off Algonquin about a block away.
- No shade
- Bring water and wear appropriate shoes
- We brought binoculars for the kids and even little nature sketchbooks
- Bolsa Chica Conservancy website
- Bolsa Chica Land Trust website
- Amigos de Bolsa Chica tours
- StockTeam (one of our favorite Huntington Beach websites) photos and description