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Spotlight on Rabbit Run Trail Improvements

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​Built into the Shady Canyon trail network in the City of Irvine’s Open Space Preserve, Rabbit Run trail is well known among mountain biking and hiking enthusiasts for its technical challenges and natural beauty.  However, over the years erosion has taken its toll, leaving certain portions of the trail with deep ruts caused by water runoff.  In some sections, these ruts were bordered by sharply slanting rocks, making the trail difficult to negotiate for both hikers and bikers.

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In order to improve the trail experience, the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Field Operations team set out earlier this year to fix the problem areas.   First, they excavated the portions of the trail with the erosion damage, sometimes up to a foot deep.  Then they carefully placed anchor rocks in the excavated sections to provide a stable foundation and prevent future erosion.  Finally, soil was backfilled and compacted around the rocky foundation to provide a safe, yet still technically challenging trail surface. 

Some portions of the trail were raised up significantly from where they were before to provide a wider surface with a more sustainable incline. “This trail is still a very narrow single track, but some sections have gone from practically having no area flat enough to get a foothold, to up to two feet wide,” said Jill Sprance, Field Operations Manager at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.

These improvements should make the trail significantly more accessible and sustainable.  However, hikers and bikers shouldn’t worry about the trail becoming too easy.  “This trail still has plenty of technical challenges!  It is still very steep and rocky, but users should now be able to enjoy the trail in a more relaxed manner than they have in the past,” said Sprance.  Make sure to check out the next Wilderness Access Day in Bommer Canyon to experience the revamped trail!