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:
Irvine Ranch Conservancy has your summer guide to outdoor adventures
It’s starting to feel like summer all across the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks! Summer vacation is the perfect time of year to get outdoors, soak up the sun and enjoy the natural beauty of Orange County. Gather your family and friends and don’t miss out on these summer destinations!
The Sinks in Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve are a must-see destination for your summer vacation. This picturesque natural geological formation, composed of dramatically exposed and layered sandstone cliffs, is often called a “mini Grand Canyon” and has become a popular destination among the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Limestone Canyon also stuns visitors with its lush natural habitat, from thick oak woodlands to the rich diversity of plants and animals, all of which can be experienced on a hike or bike ride.
Get out and explore The Sinks during your next outdoor adventure
One of the seven wonders of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, “The Sinks” in the Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, is a hidden gem in Orange County. A geological formation consisting of layered sandstone cliffs, The Sinks are often referred to as Orange County’s Mini Grand Canyon and have become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.
The red sandstone cliffs that form The Sinks are eroded in the Sespe Formation, a geological formation of southern California which is between 20-40 million years old. Visitors to The Sinks will experience the beautiful reddish-brown sandstone that drops off sharply into the canyon forming a natural bowl.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy invites the community to discover the seven wonders of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks that span The Sinks, Loma Ridge, Red Rocks, Three Sisters Rock, The Native Seed Farm, Buck Gully Reserve, and the Back Bay. The seven wonders are found in OC Parks, the City of Irvine, and the City of Newport Beach, and nature lovers have a chance to win a canvas of their favorite wonder by participating in a social media contest.
“We’re thrilled to be celebrating the seven wonders of the Landmarks,” commented Dave Raetz, Deputy Director of Irvine Ranch Conservancy. “We’re encouraging nature lovers to explore the wonders by registering for a program on the open spaces, and to follow the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks on social media for a chance to win a beautiful canvas of their favorite wonder.”
Give those who matter most to you the gift of quality time together outdoors this Valentine’s Day.
Wildflowers are starting to bloom; the sun is out a bit longer each night; and if you look up in the sky, you just might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of raptors courting – all sure signs Valentine’s Day is nearing in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Rather than book a reservation at a crowded, overpriced restaurant to celebrate, surprise your loved one this year with an outdoor adventure.
Whether it’s a romantic night hike, an adventurous outing, or an excursion for the whole family, show the people who matter most to you one of the most special sights in Orange County by exploring the Landmarks together this Valentine’s Day. Read more below to see which activity is right for you.
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.