Limestone Canyon Reopens for Hikes, More

The nature preserve shuttered following fires in 2020; now a host of get-outside activities are planned for 2022.

OC Parks

What to Know

  • Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, part of the OC Parks system, is located in Silverado
  • The area closed in 2020, following the Silverado and Bond fires; a new viewing deck, and trail signage, are recent additions
  • Several outings, including a hike for families, are on the 2022 schedule

We've reached that point on the Southern California calendar where a certain season is attempting to spring forth (there's a clue there), but winter is honoring its cold contract, with a month still to go before the equinox begins, well, equinoxing.

In short? A local can feel like busting out the walking stick, and sunshine-ready shorts, for a few hours in nature on one day, while the next will bring chill winds and splashes of rain.

Let's call this time, then, the perfect moment for the re-debut of Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, a stunning, sink-spectacular jewel in the OC Parks crown.

The Silverado destination shuttered near the end of 2020, due to the Silverado and Bond fires, but it is again welcoming visitors following its reopening in early 2022.

"Limestone Canyon is home to important, high-quality habitats including oak woodlands that wildlife in the area rely on for food and shelter," said IRC Vice President and Chief Programs Officer Nathan Gregory.

"Our team worked closely with OC Parks Rangers to monitor conditions throughout Limestone Canyon during the closure. Unfortunately, the lack of rain this past year meant continued stressful conditions for wildlife and slower vegetation regrowth."

"However, we now feel that the situation has sufficiently improved to handle the impacts of public activities, and we are excited to host the community out on the land once again."

Before the canyon could fully reopen, there was a lot of work to do.

A viewing deck at the West Sinks was replaced with a handsome new structure, new trail signs were added, and "the recovery of native habitats" was overseen by both OC Parks and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.

Many nature lovers got the chance to admire the new deck, which features an excellent vantage point for viewing a large section of the canyon, and the nature preserve's general progress, on Wilderness Access Day, which was on Feb. 5.

But there are many events still to come at Limestone, including a Family Hike on Feb. 26 and a Twilight Beginner Cardio Hike on Feb. 28.

And if you can go the work-up-a-sweat distance? A 16-mile Epic Distance Hike will take place on March 11.

"We are thrilled to reintroduce Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve to the public," said Donald P. Wagner, Orange County Supervisor of the Third District. "I want to give a special thank you to OC Parks and Irvine Ranch Conservancy for their diligence in restoring the area after the wildfires."

"We greatly appreciate our community's patience and support during this critical recovery time. I'm happy that families can enjoy this unique outdoor resource again — we all look forward to seeing the land flourish and wildlife thrive in the years to come."

You can check out all of the activities coming up at the OC Parks, including Santiago Oaks and Fremont Canyon, at this page.

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