Newport Beach is assessing the damage from an illegal trail in the protected Buck Gully Reserve.
The 600-foot path, which the city discovered in late March, splits off from the main trail near the Poppy Avenue trailhead and slices down the south-facing slope, cutting a couple of short switchbacks before terminating not far from residential backyards off Isabella Terrace.
The city, which owns and manages the 300-acre wilderness reserve, has blocked the unauthorized trail and is using drones to study the damage.
The city also has contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Coastal Commission, Natural Communities Coalition and Orange County to discuss enforcement and restoration.
Buck Gully Reserve features popular hiking and biking trails and is home to several federally protected animals and plants in a canyon straddling Corona del Mar and Newport Coast.