Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and the month of February is a great time to head outside and enjoy the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks with a loved one. The recent rainy weather has brought hints of wildflowers across the open spaces, and the fresh air and expansive views offer an ideal setting for a romantic walk through the lands. Whether bringing the special someone in your life to a night hike under the stars or finding an excursion for friends, there’s a program on the Landmarks fit for you and the ones you care for.
The After Work Fitness Hike on Paved Hicks Haul Road in the City of Irvine is a reoccurring program that offers views of stunning rock formations amidst fragrant native plants. The hike begins at 6 p.m. and welcomes nature lovers to enjoy panoramic city lights and breathtaking views of Orange County. The hike travels roughly 3.5 miles for around an hour, and hikers are advised to bring layers, water, and a red lens flashlight.
Also in the City of Irvine, Orchard Hills offers multiple opportunities to connect with nature. The Twilight Hike on Tuesday, 2/7 begins at 4 p.m. and winds through the Irvine Open Space at a leisurely pace during the magic time just before sunset. Orchard Hills also welcomes hikers to enjoy reoccurring Evening Hikes that kick off at 6:30 pm., offering fantastic ridge-top views of Irvine and the Pacific Coastline – a beautiful view for the season of romance.
For love birds looking for a weekend adventure, the Buck Gully Upper Loop Evening Hike is an opportunity to explore the richness of the City of Newport Beach’s Buck Gully Reserve. The hike begins at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, 2/11 and offers views of nature in the warm early evening hours. The stream is running and trekkers will walk along San Joaquin Hills Road for the first mile then drop down into the canyon on the Bobcat Trail.
The Twilight Trek on the Mesa falls after Valentine’s Day, but still offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to spend time with the ones they love on the Landmarks. The hike begins at 5 p.m. in OC Parks’ Black Star Wilderness Park, and travels around a 2.5-mile loop. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Black Star Canyon at dusk and take in the sprawling vistas and rising stars.
Landowners including OC Parks, the City of Irvine, and the City of Newport Beach work within the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks to offer a wide range of programs. The programs are open to the public with registration, but space is limited and early registration is recommended. Remember to wear layers and bring water, sunscreen, and snacks. For more information on the Irvine Natural Landmarks and to register for a program visit www.LetsGoOutside.org.