“A magnificent guided tour through Irvine Ranch Open Space with phenomenal views.”
— Zander Göpfert
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
See the Irvine Ranch Open Space website
This hike is one of the free, guided tours through Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve put on by Irvine Ranch Conservancy. To sign up for one of the hikes, head to their website
The programs provide great opportunities to explore this beautiful land with IRC-Certified volunteers and other outdoors enthusiasts.
Need to Know
Irvine Ranch Conservancy offers a number of free, regularly-scheduled programs to explore the Irvine Ranch Open space. Programs include hiking, mountain biking, equestrian rides, naturalist-guided tours and self-guided wilderness access days.
Though this particular route may differ from the route taken on the guided tour, the general direction, start point, and distance are close to what you can expect. This particular route is mirrored off of the "Cardio Hike: Limestone Canyon and The Sinks" program.
The route starts out from the Augustine Staging Area off East Santiago Canyon Road. Heading southeast on the Limestone Canyon Road
, you'll begin to climb gradually through Limestone Canyon on a nice, doubletrack trail. There are some beautiful stretches along this trail with opportunities to spot wildlife and various bird species.
After 3.4 miles, you'll pass the Cactus Canyon
connector on the left (east). Continue for a little more than a half mile to the end of the Limestone Canyon Road
and bear right onto the Loma Ridge
Look to the east at this junction toward The Sinks (1,172'), which has been dubbed Orange County's Miniature Grand Canyon.
Head west on the Loma Ridge
trail, beginning the steepest climb of the hike. After four-tenths of a mile, you'll come to a junction with the Box Springs
trail. Turn right here, but make note of this intersection as you'll return on the Box Springs
trail to this spot (making a loop).
Arriving at the Box Springs
trail on the other side, you've arrived at the high point of the hike (1,663'). Take in the gorgeous views of the park and begin your return journey heading south on the Box Springs
trail back to the Loma Ridge
trail to the Limestone Canyon Road
and back to the Augustine Staging Area.