Kara Noel Lawson: Hiking with Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks
I really love living in California. From top to bottom, the whole state is filled with beauty. But I’m always a little surprised when I discover some of the most beautiful places are right here in Orange County!
This happened on our last visit to the Discovery Cube when we went on the Helicopter Tour. In this exhibit, you soar over Orange County in a virtual helicopter and fly from the mountains to the sea, over the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. The whole tour, I was thinking how I wanted to visit and hike the featured locations. And what do you know, Irvine Ranch has a whole page on their site which shows the “flight path” and dates when you can visit the locations!
Discover Cube helicopter flight path
We went on a hike in Round Canyon which is part of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks – on the flight path, it’s between Orchard Hills and Limestone Canyon. It’s a state and national natural landmark!
We chose a sunset family friendly hike. I can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing programs the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks offer for the community. There is literally something everyday! You can see the full schedule on Irvine Ranch’s Let’s Go Outside site. (Click here.)
You can search by date or area and each activity has all the information you need to plan your day. I recommend clicking the “Family Friendly” box in the search as well. And always check the minimum age for the hike (sometimes it’s 12 y/o and it would stink to get there with your 7 y/o and have to leave). The example below is for a Wilderness Access Day on December 5th. I’ve pointed out the important bits for the family thing.
Let’s Go Outside activities
This hike was completely led by Irvine Ranch Conservancy volunteer naturalists.
And they were amazing!
We started our Round Canyon hike with a little safety lesson and our guide handed out a fun scavenger hunt so the kids could look for plants and animals along the way.
(Print your own here!)
We found 36 stink bugs…
And there was so much beauty…
Round Canyon Hike
Especially watching the sunset and walking in the twilight. It felt like we were miles away from a city.
Round Canyon Hike
I can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing programs the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks offer for the community. Check their full schedule here. I think a great New Year’s resolution would be to take a hike every month! Small Things make the biggest difference in our families.
My kids still talk about all the fun they had on this hike. Taking time out of our busy schedules isn’t always easy, but it’s so worth it!
Round Canyon Hike family pic
Don’t forget to print out the OC Parks Scavenger hunt for your next hike!-