Known as one of the world’s biodiversity “hot spots,” the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are home to many important natural habitats. Across the Landmarks, visitors will find coastal sage scrub, a rare and biologically rich habitat that is native to coastal Southern California.
The canyon marks the boundary between the northeastern expanse of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and the Cleveland National Forest beyond.
Want to take in panoramic views of soaring red rock cliffs, vistas of Irvine Lake, and—on clear days—a peek at Catalina Island? Then take advantage of Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park, where miles of varied trails offer pleasant strolls for beginning hikers and families, and also challenging experiences for seasoned trail users.
Black Star Canyon and the adjacent Baker Canyon are historical hot spots, with tales and stories harkening to the region’s ranching days, its once-numerous population of California grizzly bears, and the region’s first residents—the Gabrieleño-Tongva peoples.
Today, Black Star and Baker Canyons can be enjoyed by hikers, bikers, and equestrians during scheduled programs, or during self-guided Wilderness Access Days put on in partnership by OC Parks and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. Enjoy the landscape transition from grassland, to coastal sage scrub, to chaparral along the Baker Meadow and SilMod Loop Trails, which are connected via a 50-foot bridge spanning Baker Creek. Keep a vigilant eye along the trail, and you might spot rare chocolate lilies in bloom. And be sure to look west along the two-mile SilMod trail for awe-inspiring view of red-tinged cliffs, Irvine Lake, and the northeastern expanse of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.
For a list of upcoming events in Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park, go to LetsGoOutside.org/activities.