Those in the know have perfected the mountains-to-sea procedure. Just find a friend who would rather sit on the beach than hike. They drop you off at Bommer Canyon, then you take the scenic route on foot through the Irvine Open Space Preserve and Crystal Cove State Park to meet your driver, waiting on the beach. The trails also accommodate mountain bikers ready for a 14-mile round trip.
“Since Bommer Canyon is closer to the ocean, it is cooled by ocean breezes,” says Irvine Ranch Conservancy Interpretive Specialist Brian Hughes. “Plus, the land has benefitted from years of habitat restoration work, responsible trail use and a lack of fire damage.”
Hughes has led programs in Bommer Canyon since it opened for public access, and has seen the area evolve from its origins as a cattle farm to its current state of natural health. Widespread weed removal has allowed native plants to thrive, and trailss have been improved to support surrounding habitats. Grassland, oak woodland, and coastal sage scrub habitats are all found in Bommer Canyon.
Bommer Canyon is in the City of Irvine’s Open Space Preserve, owned by the City and managed by the Conservancy. Part of that management includes routing trails that allow for sustainable access to this natural playground without harming sensitive habitats that support local wildlife. This means that the natural beauty of the canyon will remain for generations.
“Bommer Canyon is a special place, and I understand why people want to be out there,” says Hughes. “The Conservancy and City of Irvine partner to ensure the land will be protected, so that the kids that enjoy summer camp there today can take their own kids there in the future.”