For those who love hiking, biking and outdoor adventure, Irvine might just become their new go-to getaway for miles of trails through preserved open space and perfect weather for year-round outdoor enjoyment. Having ranched and farmed here for generations, the Irvine family was close to the land, and the city's original planners understood the importance of preserving wildlands, parks and places to connect with nature as a respite from urban life. Irvine offers more than 2,000 acres of open space.
In fact, one of Orange County's most beautiful nature escapes, Irvine Regional Park, was once the private picnic grounds of James Irvine, Jr., and now offers the public 160 stunning acres of trees and trails, along with horseback riding, bike rentals and paddle boats. City planners also understand the ecological importance of open land, creating preserves like the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary that serve as refuges for local and migrating wildlife.
Part of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Southern California's largest coastal freshwater marshes. Prized for its beauty, unusual geology and extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna, the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks also include Irvine's beautiful and tranquil Bommer and Shady Canyons and the distinctive Quail Hill preserve.
Visitors can explore the area deemed by scientists as one of the world's biodiversity "hot spots" - an area with large concentrations of different species; discover the hundreds of species of plants and animals, including eagles, badgers, mountain lions, Tecate cypress trees, and many rare species of birds, reptiles and amphibians.