Here are our top seven destination hikes to experience the natural beauty of the Irvine Ranch. More than half of the historic ranch – 57,500 acres – has been permanently preserved for public enjoyment.
1. Irvine’s Bommer Canyon to
This 7-mile trek starts in Irvine’s Bommer Canyon and leads through ancient oak groves to ridgelines overlooking the ocean. From there, enjoy the ocean breeze on the way to Crystal Cove’s sandy beach.
2. Quail Hill
There’s no need to go far to experience nature. This 2-mile loop is just a stone’s throw from Irvine Spectrum Center. A self- guided audio cellphone tour will further transport you as you listen to researchers describe the wonder of the trail. All can enjoy this easy hike – even dogs on leashes.
3. San Joaquin Marsh
With more than 200 bird species, six main ponds and 15 miles of trails, this natural oasis beckons. The marsh is nearly two-thirds the size of Central Park and offers plenty for nature lovers. It’s one of the largest riparian areas in Orange County, with an unrivaled habitat.
4. Jeffrey Open Space Trail
Lessons from Irvine’s past surround you on this 3.5-mile hike. Five hundred years of local history unfold along the path – from the first time California appeared on a map (1542) to the state’s first airplane flight taking off from an Irvine bean field (1909).
5. The Sinks
Hike into Limestone Canyon and enjoy the vistas of 20-million-year-old red sandstone cliffs at The Sinks, known as Irvine’s “Grand Canyon.” Two viewing decks, each about
a 4-mile hike, bring you to the edge of the canyon and offer expansive views.
6. Mason Regional Park
Sailboats dot the 9-acre lake at Mason Regional Park, making this 339-acre park unlike any other in Irvine. You can watch the model boats or sail one yourself. Trails, a butterfly garden and plenty of activities for the family round out this serene destination.
Connect with 150 years of agricultural history when you stroll along avocado groves in Orchard Hills. Irvine Ranch Conservancy offers guided twilight hikes, moonlight hikes and a sunrise yoga hike. The tranquil trail takes you to the top of Irvine for unobstructed views of the ocean.
Originally appeared in the Irvine Standard