Beautiful Barbara’s Lake

Located in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Barbara’s Lake is the only natural lake in Orange County. Round-trip from Nix Nature Center on Laguna Canyon Road is about 1.5 miles along Mary’s Trail into Little Sycamore Canyon. Listen for songbirds in the willow trees along the way and look for egrets and other waterfowl at the lake.

Majestic trees at Hicks Canyon

There’s no better trail if you are looking for a shaded pathway that can accommodate not only joggers and walkers but also bicycles, strollers and even horses. Much of this pleasant, 2-mile trail is shaded by majestic eucalyptus trees that were planted years ago in a grid to protect crops on The Irvine Ranch from the Santa Ana winds.

Three Sisters rock formation

This is one of the most recognizable rock formations on The Irvine Ranch. You’ll find it in the heart of Shady Canyon at the intersection of Shady Oaks, Butterfly Valley and Monkey Flower Mesa trails, making it a popular destination for hikers. The sandstone formation has been eroded over time into what appears to be three almost identical rocks.