Located in central Orange County, the City of Irvine is a thriving metropolis where thousands of people work, study, and live. However, just miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life are expansive open spaces and protected nature preserves. From Bommer Canyon to the riparian community of Agua Chinon to paved Hicks Haul Road, the City of Irvine offers the community an array of parks, preserves, and programs on Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.
Located on the Irvine Open Space Preserve near OC Parks Limestone Canyon, the Agua Chinon canyon is currently being restored with native riparian plant life including oak and willow trees, elderberry, and mule fat. Visitors can enjoy the newly enhanced habitat during the Agua Chinon Geology Hike to Both Sides of The Sinks on Sunday, January 21 from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. This interpretive program begins along the Agua Chinon corridor and leads hikers 8.5 miles to both the west and east sides of the famous geological feature, The Sinks.
Fitness-enthusiasts looking to jump start their new year with outdoor exercise can join the weekly Self-Paced Fitness Hike on Hicks Haul Road on Thursday evenings from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Trekkers will travel through a 3.5-mile route and 450 ft. elevation gain to scenic Loma Ridge. Parents are welcome to bring along children to enjoy stunning rock formations, spot native plant and local wildlife, and listen to the sounds of nature as the sun sets and evening approaches.
Visitors can continue their fitness journey and join Mountain Bike Clinics on the Irvine Open Space Preserve. Mountain bikers of all skill levels, ages 16 and up, can learn the basics of mountain biking or enhance existing biking skills. Whether developing your skills on rough mountain terrain or on man-made features, the Mountain Bike Clinic teaches participants rider-influenced maneuvers and terrain-influenced handling before enjoying a short ride through Round Canyon to put their new skills to use.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy encourages the community to get outside and enjoy the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks in the City of Irvine and beyond. Most activities are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. For more details on all programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.