Sunday, February 14, 2010

Irvine Regional Park

Surrounded by the rolling foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains lies Irvine Regional Park. Irvine Regional Park is the most visited park in the OC Parks system. This past weekend, Ashley and I had a chance to go visit Irvine Regional Park. It was great to get out and enjoy the hiking trails in Irvine Regional Park and take advantage of the beautiful weather we were having. It was about the best hiking weather you could ask for. We also got a chance to visit the Orange County Zoo, which is also located in Irvine Regional Park and is worth visiting when you go to Irvine Regional Park. For more pictures from another hike at Irvine Regional Park make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to Irvine Regional Park, coming from the 5 freeway, exit at Jamboree going toward the mountains (away from Irvine). Jamboree dead ends at Irvine Regional Park, several miles from the 5 freeway. Irvine Regional Park’s address is 1 Irvine Park Road Orange, CA 92869. A map of where Irvine Regional Park is located can be found Here. We parked in parking lot 21 located on the Irvine Regional Park map. You could also park at lot 4 or 19, which also provide easy access to the hiking trails at Irvine Regional Park.

Description of Hike: Irvine Regional Park is in a great location for hiking and offers great scenery to those who visit the park. Furthermore, Irvine Regional Park has many attractions and is a great place to bring the entire family for a weekend getaway. Irvine Regional Park's hours are as follows: Fall - Winter: 6:00am to 6:00pm, Spring - Summer: 6:00am to 9:00pm. A park brochure can be found Here and map of the hiking trails at Irvine Regional Park can be found Here. Ashley and I did part of the Horseshoe Loop Trail. The trail is in great shape and the park was well maintained. When you go hike in the park there is a high probability that you will see others while out on the trail. There are only a limited amount of hiking trails in this park, which is one negative that we saw, however it is still worth visiting due to the amazing scenery. The park is 477 acres in size, but connects to a vast wilderness area that is connected to the Cleveland National Forest. It costs 5 dollars per vehicle to enter the park on the weekends and 3 dollars per vehicle during the week.

We also had a chance to visit the Orange County Zoo. The Orange County Zoo, even though not very big when compared to the San Diego Zoo, is definitely worth visiting. It is only 2 dollars to enter, which is a great price. The Orange County Zoo provides a home for native wildlife that has been injured or is not releasable into the wild. They have black bears, a mountain lion, bobcats, bald eagles, golden eagles, coyotes, mule deer and much more at the Zoo. The Orange County Zoo is open 10am - 3:30pm on week days and is open from 10am - 4:30pm on weekends. Irvine Regional Park also has horse rentals and many other recreation opportunities, such as the train at Irvine Regional Park.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I enjoyed our time visiting Irvine Regional Park. It was our first time to the park and we had a dual purpose in visiting. We first wanted to do some hiking, but we also wanted to see the Orange County Zoo. The hiking trails at Irvine Regional Park were in great shape and much of them are along Santiago Creek, which has plenty of water in it during a good rainy season in Southern California. Santiago Creek is a seasonal creek and dries usually during the summer months.

Irvine Regional Park does not offer as much hiking true wilderness opportunities as some of the other Regional and Wilderness parks we have blogged about, however, the Horseshoe Loop Hiking Trail we did was very fun and rewarding. We only did about half of the loop, so for those interested in having a longer hike, they can do the full loop of the park. The full loop will probably run about 4 - 5 miles roundtrip. Several of the trails also connect to the Santiago Oaks Regional Park. If you are interested you can also hike from one park to the next.

Irvine Regional Park is a very popular destination for Orange County residents on the weekends. We went on a Saturday and there were plenty of people out hiking on the trails in Irvine Regional Park. There were all age ranges accounted for from young to old. This is a great park to visit and go hiking at. The best thing is after your hike you can go visit the Orange County Zoo or do any number of other activities offered at Irvine Regional Park.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 100 ft. (Easy), Distance: 2.5 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 hour.

MORE WRITE-UPS ON IRVINE REGIONAL PARK

Orange County Zoo

February 14, 2010 (This Post)

December 3, 2012

View Irvine Regional Park in a larger map

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1 comment:

  1. Nice easy hike. We took the Puma Ridge Trail which was a bit steep in a few sections but not more than an 8 year old and my husband with a bad knee could handle. Neat park, enjoyed walking around looking at the Christmas decorations and flying peacocks!

    ReplyDelete

Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the trails we have posted on our blog or about their own hiking experiences in general.