Irvine's Open Space

Irvine’s Open Space Connects to the Coast

The coastal hills of Irvine, Newport and Laguna Beach form the largest natural preserve from Camp Pendleton to Malibu – and one of the rarest ecosystems on earth.

Known as the San Joaquin Hills, they run 16 miles from Irvine’s Quail Hill to the Pacific Ocean, with hiking trails and scenic vistas that reach heights of more than 1,000 feet.

The 15,000-acre preserve is one of the best examples of a Mediterranean climate ecosystem in the world, home to dozens of plants and animals that exist nowhere else.

Rare animals include the California Gnatcatcher and Cactus Wren. Rare plants include the Catalina Mariposa Lily and Many-stemmed Dudleya. The hills offer a variety of public trails, including one from Bommer Canyon in Irvine that extends to the sandy beaches of Crystal Cove.  In 2006, the preserve was designated a National Natural Landmark.

The Landmark also includes Irvine’s Northern Preserve, which extends from Irvine’s Portola Springs and Orchard Hills to the Cleveland National Forest.

How these hills were preserved

Irvine Company set aside more than 15,000 acres to create this coastal preserve. Key milestones:

Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park preserved

Newport Coast Canyons
Newport Coast Canyons preserved

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Laguna Coast Wilderness Park preserved

Irvine’s Bommer Canyon
Irvine’s Bommer Canyon preserved

Irvine’s Quail Hill
Irvine’s Quail Hill preserved

Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren (left), National Park Service Director Fran Mainella and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Irvine’s coastal hills were designated a National Natural Landmark in a ceremony with Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren (left), National Park Service Director Fran Mainella and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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