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Landmarks Focus: Shady Canyon

PictureA view in Shady Canyon

​The City of Irvine’s Open Space Preserve is home to a variety of historically rich landmarks, providing countless ways for visitors to connect and enjoy local outdoor adventures. Making up the central portion of the Irvine Open Space Preserve is Shady Canyon. 
Home to some of the most pristine and mature coastal sage scrub in the Irvine Ranch Preserve, Shady Canyon is the perfect place to forget suburban life is just minutes away. Accessible through guided activities or on Wilderness Access Days, the trails of Shady Canyon are well maintained and filled with great views, fantastic geological formations and quiet valley meadows. Those same trails are also some of the most challenging trails on the Landmarks, with steep, rocky climbs and descents. Visitors to Shady Canyon may come across some native wildlife including brush rabbits, red-tailed hawks, gopher snakes, southern Pacific rattlesnakes, darkling beetles and turkey vultures.

PictureThree Sisters Rock

​One of the most recognizable rock formations on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks can be found in the heart of Shady Canyon. Located at the intersection of Shady Oaks, Butterfly Valley and Monkey Flower Mesa trails is Three Sisters Rock. This sandstone formation has been eroded overtime into what appears to be three almost identical rocks and is an exciting destination for hikers and mountain bikers.
To learn more about Shady Canyon and the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit