Please note: Preregistration is required due to limited parking capacity.
This activity listing is for equestrian riders only. Hikers and mountain bike riders, please register for the “Saddleback Wilderness Access: Afternoon Session” activity.
Come explore 2.7 miles of new trails at Saddleback Wilderness, part of OC Parks’ Irvine Ranch Open Space, through this self-guided opportunity. Designated trails will be open for self-guided hiking, biking and equestrian use. There are multiple trail loop options which vary in distance and level of difficulty. Choices range from an easy one-mile loop to multiple figure-8 configurations for those looking to maximize their mileage. Regardless of distance, nearly all options feature scenic views including a destination vista point offering 360-degree perspectives from the mountains to the sea.
Equestrian riders who have trail riding experience with a fit and able horse and the ability to transport their horse to the staging area are welcome. Saddleback is a dry facility. There is no water available for horses on site. Due to space constraints and radius limitations in the staging area, the maximum combined vehicle + trailer length that can be accommodated is 50′.
Please review our Trail Tips page and FAQ page to prepare for your experience in the wilderness area.
All participants should be prepared to show their registration confirmation upon arrival at the Saddleback Staging Area prior to accessing the trail system. Gates will open no earlier than 1 p.m. Registration for this event is limited. Be sure to cancel your registration if you cannot attend, so that other participants can register. No walk-up registrations will be allowed.
This is a natural area characterized by certain inherent dangers including: mountain lions, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants and insects, weather extremes, loose rocks and rugged terrain. The Irvine Ranch Open Space contains rare and sensitive habitat and is under strict protection. Participants are required to stay on designated trails at all times. OC Parks Rangers may issue citations for visitors found off-trail. For your safety, please stay on the designated paths during your visit to Saddleback Wilderness.
Other Important Notes:
- OC Parks Rangers require all trails to be cleared for closure by 3:30pm.
- No new trail users will be permitted onto the trails beginning one hour prior to closing.
- Dogs are prohibited on the Irvine Ranch Open Space. By nature, dogs are predators; their presence and their lingering scent disturb the indigenous wildlife and disrupt vital routines long after a dog has left the area.
- Minors, ages 17 and under, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- Adult mountain bikers are requested to wear helmets. Minors are required to wear helmets per state law.
- Inclement weather or fire danger will cause the program to be cancelled.
Multi-use trail etiquette: Please remember that bikers yield to hikers when sharing the trails. Click here for more trail tips.
To minimize the human impact on wildlife and their habitat, there may be unannounced trail closures or the rotation of areas being open and closed. This is an adaptive management approach to accommodate both the human users and the wildlife needs.
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