The Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are comprised of nearly 40,000 acres of open space and wildlands. The Landmarks are full of rare biologically diverse plant life, historic terrain ranging from coastlines to rugged mountain ridges, and hundreds of species of wildlife including bobcats, eagles, and badgers. Visitors of all ages can explore the open spaces daily from the inland mountains to the coast through self-guided access on several trails throughout the county.
Located alongside Crystal Cove State Park and OC Parks’ Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park, the City of Irvine’s Bommer Canyon offers explorers a variety of trails to explore on their own or through docent-led programs. Open from dawn to dusk, families can enjoy a stroll down a meandering trail while seasoned hikers can take on steep technical trails. Hikers and mountain bikers have the opportunity to explore the mature coastal sage scrub ecosystem and discover the rich local history of one of Orange County’s last cattle camps in operation. Equestrians can also enjoy Bommer Canyon May 1 through November 30.
Outdoor enthusiasts can grab their furry friends and head to the City of Irvine’s Quail Hill for an adventure along the easy-two mile loop trail. Quail Hill loop, the only wilderness trail on the Landmarks that allows dogs, is open from sunrise to sunset and is easily accessible to hikers of all ages. While visiting the trail, explorers can experience the self-guided cell phone audio tour and hear from natural resource interpreters and researchers. Visitors will learn about important features along the trail by dialing 949-743-5943 or downloading the podcast to their mobile device.
Santiago Oaks Regional Park
Situated in east Orange beside the Santiago Creek, OC Parks’ Santiago Oaks Regional Park provides hikers, bikers, and equestrians an escape. Nature lovers can explore a meandering creek and an orange grove while enjoying the charm of vast mountain vistas from 7 a.m.- sunset, year-round. The park’s interconnecting trails offer a secluded refuge for visitors to discover the wildlife and natural features of the park, including a mature forest filled with several species of trees.
Buck Gully Reserve
Owned by the City of Newport Beach, Buck Gully Reserve is a treasured coastal open space that is home to many different plant and animal species and provides daily recreation opportunities for the community. Hikers and bikers can explore the nearly 300 acres nestled in between residences from dawn to dusk and discover the lush beauty in this natural coastal canyon through self-guided access or docent-led programs.
Visitors can visit the above open spaces daily through self-guided access and discover nature in Orange County’s backyard. For more information about the parks open daily visit LetsGotOutside.org/hittingthetrails.