Sunday, November 13, 2011

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary (North Loop)

One of the places that Ashley and I recently visited was the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is a totally different hiking location than most places in Southern California as it is mostly a riparian or marsh habitat. The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is a great 300 acre preserve that is connected with the larger Newport back bay ecosystem and is a great place to go hiking in Orange County. For more pictures of the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead A Google map of the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is below at the end of the post. The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary hike is located in Irvine. There are several entrances to the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. To get to the trailhead for the North Loop, exit the 405 freeway at Jamboree Road and head toward Newport Beach. Make a left onto Michelson Drive and follow for about a mile until you hit Riparian View which is right before the San Diego Creek. Make a right onto Riparian View and parking is ahead shortly on your right. These directions are to the main entrance of the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. There are several other entrances to the trails at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary from the surrounding area. One of the best things about the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is that it is free to the public and is open from dusk until dawn 7 days a week.

Description of Hike: The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is a 300 plus acre nature preserve. There are over 11 miles of hiking trails in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. The trails are virtually flat as it is a wetland sanctuary. There are trail maps located at the entrances to the park. If you would like to print out a map before you go, here is a link to one. You can make your hike in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary as long or a short as you want. There is minimal elevation gain on any trail that you choose to take. Even though the park is close to some of the tall buildings found in the urban core of Irvine, the park still has that wild secluded feel to it. While hiking here, you will be able to see plenty of wildlife while out on the trails. The North Loop Trail is a 1.2 mile loop that goes through the Northern/Eastern Portion of the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. There is minimal elevation gain and it offers great scenery and a chance to see wildlife. The total hike from the parking area plus the North Loop is 1.5 miles roundtrip.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed this hike. When hiking in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary you are likely to see other hikers out enjoy these Orange County trails in Irvine. Make sure to bring your camera with you as you never know what type of wildlife you will see when visiting here. Depending on the time of year you will also see a lot of wildlife enthusiast taking pictures of all the migratory birds that use the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. Click Here for a picture of the bobcat we saw at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. For a checklist of the birds that use the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary click Here.

The wetlands at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary naturally clean the urban runoff from the San Diego Creek. After interacting with the bulrush and other plants in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary for seven to ten days, up to 70 percent of the nitrogen that was in the water is naturally removed. The cleaner water is returned to the creek to continue its journey to Upper Newport Bay and the ocean. The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is a natural filtration system for the San Diego Creek.

This is a fun short hike in Orange County, that is perfect for the whole family to do together, especially those looking to take their kids on a hike. Additionally, despite hiking in the urban core of Orange County, at times you feel like you are deep in the wilderness.

Rating: Elevation Gain: Minimal (Easy), Distance: 1.5 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 30 minutes - 45 minutes.

MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON THE SAN JOAQUIN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Boardwalk Loop

North Loop (This Post)

South Loop


View San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary (North Loop) in a larger map

2 comments:

  1. My daughter and I wanted a nice easy hike today so we tried San Joaquin today. Our goal was to walk for at least an hour. We enjoyed ourselves while looping through just over 3 miles. You can't go wrong with the sceneary along the way. Thanks for sharing

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  2. Tina, glad you found our review helpful! It is amazing how nice the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is, especially considering it is practically in the heart of Irvine.

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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.