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OC Parks Opens New Saddleback Wilderness Trail System

Donald P. Wagner, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and OC Parks Interim Director Pam Passow cut the ribbon to commemorate the opening of  Saddleback Wilderness.

(Orange, Calif.) – Enjoy sweeping, 360-degree views from the mountains to the sea along a newly developed trail system at Saddleback Wilderness.

Located within OC Parks’ Irvine Ranch Open Space, Saddleback Wilderness features 3.3 miles of new trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use, along with a scenic overlook that offers panoramic views of Orange County and the Pacific Ocean.

“The scenic, new trails at Saddleback Wilderness are something everyone can enjoy,” said Chairman Donald P. Wagner, Orange County Board of Supervisors. “It’s great our residents can now access more outdoor rec opportunities – hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding – in a protected and preserved native habitat. I look forward to checking out its panoramic views and enjoying all the benefits that these trails offer.”

The trails are situated at the site of America’s first off-road motorsports park, known as Saddleback Park, which was established in 1967 and concluded in 1984. Today, Saddleback Wilderness’ natural habitat has been restored and offers five trails ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty. Picnic tables, portable toilets and parking for horse trailers are also available for public use.

Saddleback Wilderness is home to many unique and protected plant and animal species, including the California gnatcatcher. The area is only accessible through scheduled self-guided and docent-led public programs with advance reservation. Public access opportunities begin Saturday, April 1. 

April 2023 Activities and Programs at Saddleback Wilderness

Advance registration required for all activities and programs. Visit for more information and to sign up.

April 1, 8, 22 and 29 – Wilderness Access: Morning Session

8 – 10:30 a.m.

April 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 – Wilderness Access: Afternoon Session

1 – 3:30 p.m.  

April 5, 12, 19 and 26 – Plants Among Us

9 – 11 a.m.

April 7 – Morning Hike

8 – 10 a.m.

April 12 – Intro to Cardio Hiking

5:30 – 7 p.m.

April 14 – Morning Mountain Bike Ride

8 – 10 a.m.

April 16 – Hiking 101

9 – 11:30 a.m.

April 19 – Afternoon Hike

2 – 4 p.m.

April 23 – Nature Hike

9 – 11:30 a.m.

April 28 – Afternoon Mountain Bike Ride

4 – 6 p.m.

April 28 – Night Sky Exploration

7:30 – 9 p.m.

April 30 – Nature Challenge

8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

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