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After 2020 Fires, Limestone Canyon To Reopen, But Access Is Still Limited

Landscape view of Limestone Canyon. Hills on the right side tower over lush greenery.
Limestone Canyon on the Irvine Ranch Conservancy land.
(Courtesy Orange County Parks)
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The Irvine Ranch Conservancy and Orange County Parks are opening the Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve for limited public access starting the first weekend in February. Sign up at letsgooutside.org to register for docent-led tours.

Orange County’s “mini Grand Canyon” reopens on Saturday, Feb. 5, following more than a year of being closed after it and surrounding areas of Limestone Canyon burned in the Silverado and Bond fires in fall 2020.

Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve is a portion of the more than 30,000 acres of Irvine Ranch land designated as natural landmarks. (Yes, that’s plural, there are several landmarks within the ranch.) The canyon has a geological formation called "The Sinks" that resembles the Grand Canyon.

Since the Silverado and Bond fires forced the closure of the thick oak woodlands, streams and hiking trails that make up this federal and state natural landmark, some of the habitat has grown back, and trail signs have been replaced. An observation deck to view The Sinks has also been rebuilt.

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Corrected January 21, 2022 at 12:38 PM PST
A previous version of this story included an incorrect date for the reopening of the Limestone Canyon Nature Reserve.