Since its incorporation in 1971, Irvine has had a strong desire to balance development and the natural environment. As this incredible master-planned community has grown, each phase of development has been accompanied by the preservation and enhancement of natural open spaces, creating a network of parks, trails and wildlands that residents and visitors may enjoy today and for generations to come.
The Irvine Open Space Preserve comprises a significant portion of this landscape, protecting thousands of acres of native habitat, and providing linkages to natural resources found in the region: including the Cleveland National Forest, the San Joaquin Marsh, and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, among many others. The City’s commitment to preservation of local natural resources is reflected in the mosaic of native habitats, including chaparral shrub thickets, riparian wetland, native grass meadows, oak woodlands, and extremely rare coastal sage scrub. Here in this wildlife sanctuary, mule deer, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, and hundreds of endangered birds, mammals and reptiles thrive. A protected habitat for flora and fauna alike, the Irvine Open Space Preserve also provides a rare recreational opportunity for the community. Irvine’s residents and visitors may explore the land through myriad activities – from hiking, biking, and equestrian activities, to plein air painting, stewardship and restoration programs – or may simply retreat into the open space to find peace and solace.
The Irvine Open Space Preserve is part of the historic Irvine Ranch, which has been officially designated as a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the United States Department of the Interior.
The first application of the NCCP/HCP in the Central and Coastal Subregion of Orange County was the establishment of the Nature Reserve of Orange County (NROC), a 37,000-acre area designed to protect the habitat of coastal sage scrub communities.
Enjoy self-guided and docent-led hiking, mountain biking and equestrian riding throughout and adjacent to the Irvine Open Space Preserve, including Bommer Canyon, Jeffrey Open Space Trail, Shady Canyon, Quail Hill and more.