So you’re not quite ready to hit the hills, but you want to get out into the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks? Just take it easy. There are many easy trails to explore and activities held weekly to meet the needs of folks looking for a stroll outdoors or those who want to build up to more challenging hikes.
In the beautiful local wilderness, “easy” doesn't mean “boring.” Most birding programs are on easy trails and are slow-paced, with constant wildlife sightings and trained docents to identify your new feathered friends. Another popular easy trek is the Red Rocks Trail in Black Star Canyon (pictured). The wide trail is surrounded by lush native plants and wildlife, and docent-led hikes often include background on the geologic and natural history of the area. Wilderness Access Days are also a good way to get some assistance in choosing a hike that suits your abilities.
In addition to the weekly hikes, the monthly Easy Morning Hike led by Irvine Ranch Conservancy docents and volunteers varies location, but is always an enjoyable stroll on easy trails.
The City of Irvine’s Open Space Preserve and OC Parks’ regional and wilderness parks are open daily. Visit the park’s web site for specific driving directions and specific hours. For docent-led activities in protected areas such as Round Canyon, Black Star Canyon and Limestone Canyon, visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities. Programs led by Irvine Ranch Conservancy are free but pre-registration is required; registration closes at 4 p.m. the weekday before the activity.