One of Orange County’s most iconic spots for weddings, reunions and corporate events will reopen mid-July after receiving $6 million in improvements while maintaining its historic character.
The rehabilitation project replaced several old buildings and improved amenities at Bommer Canyon’s Cattle Camp – a throwback to the days when cowboys rustled up cattle on The Irvine Ranch.
Built in 1967, the camp sits at the head of Bommer Canyon, a stunning expanse of native meadows, woodlands and ridgelines with trails that lead all the way to Crystal Cove.
“It’s a beautiful facility in a canyon,” says Stacy DeLong, a senior project manager with the city. “There’s wildlife everywhere. We see deer out here all the time. There are hawks circling around. It’s a really cool, serene place to be. You can sit under the trees and hear the woodpeckers, bird calls and rustle of the trees.”
The Cattle Camp’s Old West setting has long been a popular spot for private parties, picnics and campouts. Residents requested that the modernization project retain the Old West aesthetic of the original camp.
“This area has a lot of history,” DeLong says. “We wanted to make sure that we were honoring that history while modernizing it and making it a facility that anyone of any ability can come out and enjoy.”
The camp now features 39 new picnic tables under a canopy of 100-year-old sycamore trees. A new rustic barn-style building houses a dance stage and a bridal suite. The city also added plumbed restrooms and a catering kitchen with concession windows. The buildings are made from fire-resistant materials. Other improvements include new lighting and meandering walking paths throughout the park.
For more information or to reserve the new Cattle Camp, visit cityofirvine.org and search for “Bommer Cattle Camp” or call 949-724-6620.
Bommer Canyon History
Did you know that Bommer Canyon once was the site of an annual cattle roundup? Thousands of cattle roamed Irvine Company’s Irvine Ranch throughout much of the 1900s. Each spring, cowboys rounded up the herd at the Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp – the ranch’s cattle headquarters. In 2002, Irvine Company donated 2,200 acres of open space to the city of Irvine to establish the Bommer Canyon Open Space Preserve and make it available for hiking and biking activities. Bommer Canyon is now the centerpiece of Irvine’s Southern Open Space Preserve that extends through the coastal mountains and to the Pacific.