PATH TO THE SEA Crystal Cove State Park includes nearly 2,400 acres of backcountry wilderness that connects Irvine’s Bommer Canyon to the cove’s 3.2 miles of beach. It also connects to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

Your adventure guide to Irvine open space

Irvine’s Southern Open Space Preserve is a remarkable window into one of the rarest ecosystems on Earth.

Stretching 16 miles from Irvine’s Quail Hill to the Pacific Ocean, it offers a vibrant tapestry of natural habitat, from meadows to woodlands to breezy ridgelines sequined with coastal sage scrub. This stunning 15,000-acre expanse (almost twice the size of Seal Beach) is home to dozens of plants and animals that exist nowhere else in the world.

The preserved coastal hills offer a variety of public trails, including one from Bommer Canyon in Irvine that extends to the sandy beaches of Crystal Cove. Rare birds you might see on the trails include the California gnatcatcher and cactus wren. Rare plants include the Catalina mariposa lily and many-stemmed dudleya.

When you step onto the preserve, you enter the largest urban open space network in America – the only land ever to receive both the California State and United States National Natural Landmark designation. And this landmark is available for discovery and enjoyment by Californians … forever.


QUAIL HILL - A mosaic of annual grasses and wildflowers covers this gently sloping hill in the heart of the city. Hikers, cyclists and families are rewarded with views of the city and mountains on its easy 1.8-mile loop trail.
BOMMER CANYON - A short hike leads through native meadows, sycamore groves and large rock outcrops. Longer hikes climb 2,100 feet for breathtaking views and ocean breezes while leading to the sandy beaches of Crystal Cove.
Shady Canyon - Hawks and falcons soar over 1,700-foot ridgelines that hold some of Orange County's favorite trails. The canyon floor is rich with deerweed, sticky monkey flower and pearly everlasting, a delightful flower that smells like maple syrup.
LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PARK - Forty miles of trails lead deep into this 7,000-acre stretch of wilderness, taking hikers through coastal canyons of woodlands, wetlands and meadows – and occasionally an ancient cave to explore.
CRYSTAL COVE - This picturesque coastline is much more than a beach. Its waters teem with exotic marine life. Its tide pools call to young and old. And its bluffs, trails and secluded setting make it an ideal destination.