One of the most iconic locations within the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, Limestone Canyon never ceases to amaze. Located between the rugged Santa Ana Mountains and central Orange County, Limestone Canyon is home to a variety of plants, animals, and unique geological features. Its oak filled valleys and year-round springs made it a popular place for Native Americans and early European settlers to hunt and forage for supplies. Later, it became an important grazing area for ranchers in the region. Today, Limestone Canyon remains one of the most pristine wilderness areas in the county and houses a number of habitat restoration projects to further ensure it biological viability. Over 20 miles of trails crisscross Limestone Canyon, providing hiking, riding, and equestrian opportunities for all levels and interests. You can sign up to participate in a number of activities in Limestone Canyon on LetsGoOutside.org, including Wilderness Access Days. Be sure to check out all this area has to offer on your next adventure, including:
The natural land in Orange County has been home to humans for thousands of years. You might have wondered from time to time how people survived – what they ate, where they sheltered, how they dealt with heat and drought. Indigenous groups like the Tongva lived in the area for many years before Spanish explorers colonized the area. These groups moved with the seasons and subsisted on the lands, using tried-and-tested techniques to prepare food you might not have known was edible.
Hesperoyucca whipplei, or Chaparral yucca, is an unmissable sight on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. When flowering, it looks something like a giant Dr. Seuss character, with shaggy cascades of white, yellow-green or purple hair springing more than mid-way up its stalk. You might know Chaparral yucca by any of its common names, such as Spanish bayonet, Quixote yucca, or Our Lord’s candle. Yucca plants typically live a few years before they flower and die, but the flowering growth can happen in a short time span: the flower part of the plant can grow as tall as 15 feet in a matter of weeks.
Tarantulas are everywhere! These large arachnids can be spotted on trails all over the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks in the late summer and early autumn months. Tarantulas are not aggressive animals and they will happily let you admire them from a distance, so long as they can go about their business. Tarantulas are part of the large and diverse spider family, and thus have eight legs, but they are much larger and thicker than most other spiders that live in the United States. Tarantulas ambush their prey on the ground and are known to eat small vertebrates like lizards and mice as well as large insects and other spiders.
Join Irvine Ranch Conservancy in celebrating the beauty of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks during National Public Lands Day on September 28. Spend the day giving back to the local environment and learn about the direct impact volunteering can have on our natural surroundings.
Held on the fourth Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for America’s public lands. This day brings a unique opportunity for the community to connect with nature through service. Irvine Ranch Conservancy welcomes nature lovers throughout Orange County to participate in a variety of stewardship opportunities to connect with the expansive Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and its partners and volunteers through LetsGoOutside.org.
The Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are home to a variety of diverse habitats within Orange County, bringing many opportunities to experience and learn from the wonders of nature! Expand your learning experience with nature while exploring the perfect outdoor classroom. From the beautiful mountains and trails to the unique flora and fauna found across the Landmarks, there are so many fun and exciting features to discover.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy, along with OC Parks, the City of Irvine and the City of Newport Beach, offers a variety of free educational and interactive activities on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks that are sure to enrich every visitor’s experience with nature. Next time you log into LetsGoOutside.org, make sure to explore all of the interpretive activities offered on the land.
Spending time on local trails is a great way to get your family out of the house for a fun adventure. With 40,000 acres of open space, Orange County residents have access to one of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the world, so why not experience it with your children? Introducing little ones to the outdoors and allowing them to experience nature is the best way to grow the next generation of nature enthusiasts, while making life-long family memories.
Taking kids out on trails might seem challenging, but if you’re properly prepared, everyone is bound to have a great time! Before you head out to explore the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks with your kids, Irvine Ranch Conservancy has some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Welcome to the Irvine Ranch Conservancy "News from the Field" blog. These articles are written by Conservancy staff about activities and projects in and near the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.