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Discover Black Star Canyon

PictureBlack Star Canyon’s Silmod Trail offers expansive views of Irvine Lake.

Enjoy the beauty and trails of Black Star Canyon on foot, bike, or saddle, and join in on upcoming guided events including tai chi in the canyon and hikes that explore Black Star’s wildflowers and natural history.

Looking for a way to connect with the great outdoors? Nature lovers can explore Black Star Canyon which, after this season’s deluge of rains, is sure to be bursting with wildflowers and greened-up native plants throughout the winter and spring seasons.

Known for its rich history and breathtaking views, Black Star Canyon is an easy gateway to the backcountry of the Cleveland National Forest and the northern Santa Ana Mountains. The first residents of the land were the Gabrieleno (Tongva) people, and the area was also once home to a vibrant ranching community and mining company. Today, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy diverse sage scrub, chaparral habitats, wildflowers, and expansive views found in Black Star Canyon.


“Visiting Black Star Canyon is the perfect way for visitors to get a sampling of the sprawling vistas and diverse plant and wildlife communities found throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks,” Irvine Ranch Conservancy Deputy Director Dave Raetz says. “The Landmarks are part of a biodiversity hot spot and offer the community a chance to observe rare, native species.”
 
After enduring years of drought, the rains have brought much needed precipitation to the Landmarks, and native wildflowers are already beginning to bloom. In Black Star Canyon, California lilacs are displaying beautiful blue blooms near Baker Meadow and black sage is flowering near the Silverado Creek Trail. Wildflowers are sprouting along the Silmod Trail, which leads to views of Irvine Lake.
 
While enjoying hikes through Black Star Canyon, it’s important to become familiar with trail etiquette. Bikers yield to pedestrians, and bikers and pedestrians yield to equestrians. It’s also important to keep preparedness in mind. When enjoying a day on the Landmarks, remember to wear appropriate footwear, pack a jacket or wear layers if the temperature is fluctuating, and always bring sunscreen, a snack, and water.
 
Events in Black Star Canyon are free to the public with required registration. Visitors under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times, and all bikers and equestrians are required to wear a helmet. Click below for more information on the upcoming Black Star Canyon events and hit the trails!

  • Tai Chi in the Canyon on Monday, 2/27 brings the slow, non-stressful physical and meditative techniques of the ancient Chinese exercise to the great outdoors. The two-hour program is broken into two parts: The first hour is dedicated to beginning students, while the second hour focuses on the advanced students and more advanced sets. Tai Chi in the Canyon is a recurring weekly event.

  • Wildflower Identification on Friday, 3/17. Baker Canyon (within Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park) can be spectacular in March. Some of the early blooming plants include three types of California lilac, purple sage, owl’s clover, lupines, chocolate lily and many others. Please join us as we learn the names of the wildflowers that are blooming and the resources we have for identifying them.

  • The Natural History of Baker Canyon on Sunday, 3/19 allows you to enjoy the views of the Santa Ana Mountains—as well as the wildflowers and plants of Baker Canyon—as you learn why so many different animals and plants call this place home. The 3.5-mile hike includes 500 feet of total elevation change, so be sure to come prepared with weather appropriate dress, water, and sun protection. 

For more information on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmark, and to ensure registered programs are not cancelled due to weather, visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.