There’s an area in OC Parks’ Black Star Canyon that locals call “the Mesa,” and it certainly lives up to its name. Standing at the top of the Library Trail along the Mesa Loop, you can take in a 360° view that includes Black Star Canyon, Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, and Cleveland National Forest. Beginning in January, visitors can check out this view for themselves during a variety of docent-led activities provided by OC Parks and led by Irvine Ranch Conservancy.
Events kick off Tuesday, Jan. 19, with Quick Cardio on the Mesa, where visitors can explore the sights and smells of coastal sagebrush and the vista of the canyons while getting a workout in. Additional programs tailored to different interests ensure there are a variety of ways to connect to the land, including Twilight Trek on the Mesa on Friday, Jan. 22, for night owls; family-focused activities such as Morning on the Mesa Loop Family Hike on Saturday, Feb. 13; and even Art on the Landmarks for those seeking inspiration from nature. There is a new program to enjoy on the Mesa Loop nearly every week throughout the winter, and you can register for them at www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities.
Once on the trails, the only thing limiting the view is the tall, healthy coastal sage scrub habitat. The Library Trail starts as a wide double-track with many interesting plants. After narrowing to a single-track trail, a short climb takes you to the top of the mesa, and a sense that you are miles away from civilization. The loop continues around to the Mesa Trail, with expansive views and hawks soaring overhead. At just about 2.5 miles, the newly accessible trail offers a big reward for little effort.
The loop is open for scheduled programs only, which will be once a week or more. The programs will include family walks, twilight hikes, birding and even cardio. You can see a complete list of programs currently available below:
- Tuesday, Jan. 19, Quick Cardio on the Mesa
- Friday, Jan. 22, Twilight Trek on the Mesa
- Saturday, Feb. 13, Morning on the Mesa Loop Family Hike
- Tuesday, Feb. 16, Quick Cardio on the Mesa
- Wednesday, Feb. 24, Birding on the Mesa
- Friday, Feb. 26, Twilight Trek on the Mesa
- Sunday, Feb. 28, Art on the Landmarks: Painting on the Irvine Mesa
- Saturday, March 12, Morning on the Mesa Loop Family Hike
- Tuesday, March 15, Quick Cardio on the Mesa
- Friday, March 25, Twilight Trek on the Mesa
For more information or to register for these programs, click on the titles above or visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities.