Who says that we can't find autumn leaves in Orange County?
Seasonal color is only a fifteen minute drive east on Jamboree Road to Irvine Regional Park, which is home to some of the oldest deciduous trees in the region.
The park was originally part of the great Irvine Ranch and was one of James H. Irvine's most favorite places to relax with his family. In fact, people have been enjoying the "Picnic Grounds" since the mid 1800's when the first German settlers of the Anaheim Colony gathered there.
The area was so popular that James Irvine began to worry about the protection of a grove of ancient California Oak trees, some that dated back before the American Revolution. In order to preserve the trees, he gave the 160 acres that surrounded them to the County of Orange to form a regional park.
Jase and Kathryn Helena Irvine
Irvine had several conditions attached to his gift. He wanted the entrance road moved further from the trees and a fence constructed that would keep out sheepherders and woodchoppers. There would be absolutely no harvesting of trees and a full-time caretaker would be on hand to keep them in good care. He also wanted the park to be free and accessible to the public.
In 1897, Orange County Park, as it was first named, officially opened to area residents. It became an important gathering place for locals wanting to escape the heat in the shade of James Irvine's favorite trees.
On June 1st, 1926, the Orange County supervisors passed a resolution changing the name to Irvine Park.
Today, a statue of James H. Irvine stands near the same grove of trees that he intended to save and Irvine Regional Park remains a local treasure, remarkably unchanged for over a century.
Fall is one of the best times to visit Irvine Regional Park. The summer heat has subsided and the massive shade trees are covered in golden leaves.
The Irvine Park Railroad celebrates the season with its annual Pumpkin Patch and train rides for "leaf-peepers" of all ages.
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869