Nature lovers can explore the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks by registering for hiking, biking, and interpretive programs, and outdoor enthusiasts who own or have access to a horse can saddle up and join the fun on the open spaces! A variety of equestrian programs welcome the community to trot through designated trails on the Landmarks, where rare and native species cohabitate in Southern California’s Mediterranean climate.
“The Landmarks are home to many diverse terrains, and equestrians can experience the lands by registering for programs throughout the year,” commented Dave Raetz, Deputy Director of Irvine Ranch Conservancy. “Riders are invited to bring their horse to the Landmarks during designated activities and take in some of Orange County’s most beautiful open spaces by saddle.”
In addition to staying on the marked trails and yielding to others as needed, visitors are reminded to call out to other trail users to alert them of their presence. Never assume others know horses are approaching, and riders should keep their ears and eyes open for approaching trail users. When in doubt, give other users the right of way and enjoy a safe and memorable ride through the Landmarks.
Wilderness Access Day at Limestone Canyon on Saturday, October 7 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. invites hikers, bikers, and equestrians for self-guided access through Limestone Canyon’s historic ranch roads. Equestrians can climb the ridge top for widespread views of the vistas or ride through the cool and shady canyon. For those equestrians who prefer a docent-led excursion through Limestone Canyon, the Equestrian Ride in Limestone Canyon program is a great program to take in the views while enjoying the diversity of plants and wildlife.
Visitors looking to end their day with a relaxing ride on the Landmarks can sign up for the Moonlight Equestrian Ride in Blackstar on Friday, October 13 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. Equestrians will be able to experience a lovely view of the Irvine Lake at sunset during this docent-led activity.
It’s important to note that the Irvine Ranch Conservancy does not provide horse rentals for programs. If you are signing up for an equestrian program, you must have your own trail worthy horse and the appropriate amount of experience for the ride you have registered for. The horse should be well-mannered and have experience riding on a trail. Equestrians must have the ability to transport their horse to the staging area for each event, and trailer parking is on a “first come, first serve” basis. To ensure equestrians have enough time to explore the Landmarks and find parking, pre-registration is required and early arrival is highly recommended. There are not typical equestrian amenities during programs such as hitching posts, steps to mount your horse or water troughs.
All equestrian activities on the Landmarks are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. All equestrian programs are suitable for adults 18 and over. For more details on programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks visit www.LetsGoOutside.com/activities.