Local horseback riders enjoy a trek through OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, part of 57,500 acres of preserved open space on The Irvine Ranch.

Saddle up and ride The Irvine Ranch


Horseman Bob Torrez has been leading trail rides on The Irvine Ranch for 13 years. He’s ridden the open range of New Mexico, the mountains of the Pacific Crest Trail and the coast of Mexico, but says he’s never seen land as pristine as that around us. We asked him to explain.

What do you do?

I’m one of a dozen equestrian trail guides for the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s equestrian program. We give tours so others can discover and enjoy the open space right here in our own backyard.

Describe a favorite ride.

In the Limestone Wilderness, I love riding the East Loma Trail to Dripping Springs, then looping back through Limestone Canyon. We see rock formations, rolling green pastures, wildflowers and waterfalls fed by natural spring water. It’s beautiful.

“We see rock formations, rolling green pastures, wildflowers and waterfalls fed by natural spring water. It’s beautiful.” – Bob Torrez

Any memorable moments?

We once came upon the largest stag I’ve ever seen in California – a 12-point buck standing in the middle of Box Springs Meadow, munching on the grass. Moments like that stir an appreciation for this natural, sustainable ecosystem.

How would you sum up The Irvine Ranch?

I am grateful to live so close to this open space preserve. It is the most pristine, natural open space I have ever seen. I particularly enjoy riding in the winter and spring. The air is cool and clean; the clouds and sky are brilliant; the grasses under the 100-year-old oaks and the poppies, lupine and other wildflowers start to show.

How does seeing this by horse enhance your experience?

We can cover more ground, so we see more wildlife and views in three hours than by foot. And to do so on one of these majestic animals – it can be spiritual and healing. I’d encourage anyone who has a chance to try it.

To learn more about IRC’s equestrian program, visit letsgooutside.org.

Irvine’s ranching tradition thrives on the hundreds of miles of accessible trails in and around Irvine.

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