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Limestone Canyon-Wilderness Access Day (All Levels)

  • Jun 1, 2013 · 9:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members












The 2013 National Trails Day will be held on Saturday, June 1st. We are posting a hike at one of the landmarks in Orange County. To hike in this area you must first sign up with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy Natural Landmark! Click on this link: June 1, 2013 Wilderness Open Access Day // REGISTRATION WITH THE PARK IS CLOSED, BUT IT IS OKAY TO WALK-IN REGISTER ON OPEN ACCESS DAY!

On this open access day at the Irvine Conservancy Natural Landmark, there will be maps and details info that you and your family, friends can be able to go for an exploration. You can RSVP here, but also need to sign up with the IRC. You can join the group with your pace to hike with or explore your own. I'll be there at 9 AM and take a slow group for 2 hours and we also have David McCoy to help the group

NOTES: There may not be any wildflowers left now and poison oaks on the trails. Limestone Canyon is connecting with Whiting Ranch, so it has most everything Whiting Ranch has including red rocks, sandstone, poison oaks and wildflowers. It's also a mountain lions country too, we are prepared and bewared being in nature?FYI!

Check out photos of last hikes:

1. May 2011

2. March 3, 2012

It's an open access day, so parking space is limited. Carpool is highly recommended. Please see below driving direction for CARPOOL LOCATIONS

Click to see Limestone Trails Map, Topo Map and our group RATING TABLE to learn more about the route and the hiking difficulty levels

CHECKING TIME: 9:00 - 9:15 AM

DURATION: about 2-3 Hours (optional to spend more time there)
DISTANCE: ~5 miles (optional for longer loops, not with the group)
ELEVATION: ~800ft gain (up to 3K ft, not with the group)

ESSENTIALS: Bring plenty of water, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat...snacks...

The hikes in the Limestone Canyon Wilderness area are some of the most scenic hikes in Orange County. On dirt fire road and are well maintained by O.C. Parks and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. There is no cost for parking on these hikes but you must sign up. Once a month a wilderness access day is offered when you are not required to sign up for one of the docent lead hikes to the area. The docent lead hikes are required because of the sensitive habitat in Limestone Canyon.

As described on the website of Irvine Ranch Conservancy Landmarks: "This spectacular and lush canyon includes thick oak woodlands, streamside habitats, year-round springs and an iconic geological formation called "the Sinks,” often compared to a mini-Grand Canyon. A rich diversity of plants and animals as well as an unusual variety of natural habitats make Limestone a true favorite among hikers, mountain bikers and naturalists of all types"

More info of Limestone Canyon:


Driving Directions to the Augustine Staging Area

From the North: If take the 55 exit E. Chapman Ave, going 4.5 miles it'll turn to Santiago Canyon Rd, see below:

If take the 5 freeway exit Jamboree Road, head north (toward the Tustin Market Place)approximately 5 ½ miles to Santiago Canyon Rd., turn Right on Santiago Canyon Rd., see below:

• Follow Santiago Canyon Rd. approximately 4.5 miles
• Turn Right into the Augustine Staging Area directly after going under a white bridge (it is the only bridge over Santiago Canyon Road)
• Look for right hand turn lane
• NOTE: If the gate is closed, the sign says Hicks Haul Road Gate- you are in the right area.

From South Orange County
• Take El Toro Road East (toward Saddleback Mountain)
• El Toro Road turns into Santiago Canyon Road
• Follow Santiago Canyon Rd. approximately 1.8 miles past Silverado Canyon Rd. to the Augustine Staging Area entrance
• Turn Left into Augustine Staging Area, look for the left hand turn lane (only left turn lane on Santiago Canyon Road)
• NOTE: If the gate is closed, the sign says Hicks Haul Road Gate- you are in the right area.


Please make notes next to your name to carpool at Ralphs or Albertsons or meet at the  trailhead.

1. From North OC and near the 55 Frwy and E. Chapman Ave, Ralphs Market is a good location, I'll be there at 8:25-8:30 AM and here is the address RALPHS 2620 E Chapman Ave Orange, CA 92869.

2. From Central OC and you come from Orange, Irvine or Tustin area, Albertsons on Chapman and Jamboree is a good location. 8:30-8:35 AM to be there and address: 8440 EAST CHAPMAN AVENUE Orange, CA 92867.

3. From the South, take Santiago Canyon up from El Toro Rd., follow the IRC driving direction!


***By joining the meetup, you agree to Meetup Terms of Service releases the Organizer and Assistant Organizers from any liability related to incidents that occur at Meetup gatherings***
Hiking is a rewarding and pleasant activity in nature, but there are certain dangers you should be aware of. Those include, but are not limited to, trip and fall injuries, bee stings, poison oak exposure, ticks, mountain lions, coyotes, snake bites or wildlife. By signing up for this event, you agree to hold harmless the hike organizer, assistant organizers and other participants for any injuries sustained during this hike***

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  • Lily

    Long overdue photos...

    September 24, 2013

  • Kei

    I am so sorry about that i think i went a wrong way . So I will be late...(ToT)/~~~
    What should I do ?!

    June 1, 2013

    • Lily

      Saw you uploaded photos, it meant you knew what to do...We were rushing to the trailhead, no one read the post and emails at about meeting time, Ming Ming :-)

      June 3, 2013

  • Tatiana

    Thank you Lily Lily for organizeng this beautiful hike!

    June 3, 2013

  • MimiK

    So I decided to dawdle along the way with my camera this morning so I didn't go with the group but I sure enjoyed the outing!

    June 2, 2013

    • Heather aka ".

      AhHaHa. I saw you Dawdling! I was Dawdling with 2 of my gf's and we said "hey" here and there.

      1 · June 2, 2013

  • Rachael L

    Ditto! Ditto!

    June 1, 2013

  • Michelle

    Thank you Lily and David of making us aware and take us to this beautiful hike!

    1 · June 1, 2013

  • Chuck

    Nothing short of Incredible!

    June 1, 2013

  • Stephenie T.

    What a great group of people. I can't wait to log my next hike :)

    June 1, 2013

  • Annie L.

    Sorry I didn't wait the group but I had another appt following the hike but it was an amazing day. I think I may passed the group on my way back.

    June 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you everyone for another enjoyable hike, the views were fantastic. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

    3 · June 1, 2013

  • Klear S.


    May 31, 2013

  • Lily

    By the way, I'll be at Ralphs (off the 55 Frwy and E Chapman Ave in Orange) at 8:30 AM

    May 31, 2013

    • Miguel

      I will be there looking for a carpool too. :)

      May 31, 2013

  • Preston

    Daughter is in the mud run at Pendleton.

    May 31, 2013

  • Michelle

    Missed the registration deadline of the park so I guess I can't join :(

    May 31, 2013

    • Lily

      Michelle, the park registration is closed. However, they will allow us to walk-in register on this open access day, so if you still like to join us, please come. It's 99% chance I'll be there, just may be a tiny bit that I can't make it, so see you all then!

      May 31, 2013

    • Michelle

      Ah great! Than I will join the group tomorrow!

      May 31, 2013

  • Cassiopia

    I have to work.

    May 31, 2013

  • Mike

    Going to join another group same place. See you all there still.

    May 31, 2013

  • Lily

    I just update the post with Limestone Canyon Trails Map, Topo Map and our group RATING TABLE to learn more about the route and the hiking difficulty levels, please check to learn more. However, you will also get the map at the check-in as well

    If you plan to hike to the Sink (a special landmark of Limestone Canyon), it'll require at least 8 miles RT on the flat trail (Limestone Canyon). Other trails will gain 500ft or more and longer distance to get to it. David, my suggesting 2-3 hours may not get the group to the Sink in 5 miles with slow pace. The group needs to go at least 3mph to have that 8 miles in 3 hours. However, you will make a call for your permit time and the group pace. I will try to get everything done by tomorrow evening, then I'll join the group. If not, you all have a great time!

    May 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Your welcome Lily, This is sure to be an enjoyable scenic hike for all. See everyone at the check-in.

    1 · May 30, 2013

  • Lily

    Update to Stephenie and RSVPed members. We have asked David McCoy to help in case I can't make it Sat. morning, so it'll be his exploratory on this area as well. We'll have the group hike in level 1+/2 starting at 9AM (slow-moderate/moderate pace about 5 miles in 2-3 hours). The gate opens at 9AM, you need to check in, so hiking time is around 9:15AM.

    Forecast has it in the 90s this Sat. and hiking time in between 9 am to 3 pm are the warmest hours of the day. It's up to you to come later or spend more time on the trails, but you won't be with the group. Please check the post and come to join us on time for couple hours in this scenic area. Thanks David for helping.

    May 28, 2013

    • Stephenie T.

      Thank you Lily. I look forward to my first hike with the group :)

      May 30, 2013

  • Liz C.

    I can meet at the trailhead.

    May 27, 2013

  • Stephenie T.

    Hi, I am looking for a group to join for the hike. Is there anything organized already with those confirmed? It looks like we are all on our own according to the details. Am I reading it wrong? Just checking :)


    May 27, 2013

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