As the weather begins to cool, skip the gym and head for the great outdoors on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Visitors can enjoy fresh air, exercise, and the local habitat by participating in a variety of activities offered on the open spaces. From hikes of all skill levels to yoga and Tai Chi programs, the community is invited to connect with nature during fitness programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, many of which are free and open to the public with required preregistration.
“Temperatures are cooling and it’s the perfect time to explore the local lands during a fitness program,” Dave Raetz, Irvine Ranch Conservancy Deputy Director, said. “Whether joining a long-distance cardio hike or mild fitness walk, the Landmarks offer many different activities for nature lovers as young as 8 years old to enjoy. These programs offer the unique opportunity to engage in physical activity while getting acquainted with Orange County’s spectacular open spaces that are home to many rare and native species.”
Fitness programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are tailored to a wide variety of interests and skill levels. Those looking to challenge themselves can sign-up for Cardio Hikes to The Sinks, which occur throughout the year and will welcome hikers soon on Saturday, October 14 from 7 – 10 a.m. This cardio hike travels through OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon to The Sinks, a geological wonder known as Orange County’s mini-Grand Canyon. The 10-mile hike includes steep climbs and descents and offers visitors expansive views of Saddleback Peak and the Cleveland National Forest.
Those who prefer to explore the Landmarks after work can sign-up for reoccurring programs in the evening. The After Work Fitness Hikes on Paved Hicks Haul Road in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve offers expansive views of the sunset over Orange County, and is offered most Mondays and Wednesdays. Orchard Hills Evening Hikes in the City of Irvine encourages visitors to enjoy an evening on the Orchard Hills loop trail to gain a sweeping view of the scenic west, also available on most Mondays and Wednesdays.
If you’re looking to connect with nature and balance internal energy consider registering for Tai Chi in the Canyon, a reoccurring Monday morning program in OC Parks’ Black Star Wilderness Park that gives nature lovers a chance to start their week with an ancient Chinese exercise known for its slow, low-impact physical exercises. YIKING: Cardio Hike and Yoga in Orchard Hills combines hiking and yoga for a unique fitness experience. Yiking begins with a 5 -7-mile hike to Orchard Hills where an instructor will lead a yoga class and welcome students to enjoy a sense of harmony with the land.
Enjoy fresh air and exercise on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks during the fall season and beyond! Most activities are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. Some programs are suitable for children 8 and over, and children must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. For more details on fitness programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.