Lower Weir Canyon (Irvine Ranch)
- Location: Outdoor Education Center, Irvine Regional Park. From the 55 freeway, take the Chapman Avenue exit and head east for 4.2 miles until you get to Jamboree Road. Take a left on Jamboree and a right into the park. From the north, take the Katella Avenue exit from the 55 freeway, head east and drive 4.6 miles to Jamboree and take a left (Katella becomes Villa Park and then Santiago Canyon Road on the way). Parking is $3 per car on weekdays, $5 on weekends and $7 on holidays. Once inside the park, stay straight at the first junction and follow the signs to the Outdoor Education Center, near lot 3.
- Agency: Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks (Weir Canyon Nature Preserve)
- Distance: 4.4 miles or more
- Elevation gain: 300 feet or more
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5-2 hours (as scheduled by Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks)
- Best season: All year but hot during the summer, available as offered by Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks (see link above for scheduling and more information)
- Recommended gear: sun screen sun hat hiking poles
- More information: Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 6
If you’ve ever visited the popular Weir Canyon Loop in Anaheim Hills and wished that you could further explore the area, this hike gives you a chance. It is usually offered a few times per month by Irvine Ranch as a “cardio” or “fitness” hike – at a brisk pace of three miles per hour or more. The hike is also offered in several configurations, ranging from just over four miles to six, in both loop and out-and-back routes. Below is a description of the “Beginning Fitness Hike”, a 4.4-mile out and back. As with other docent-led hikes, you will be with a guided group so navigation won’t be a problem.
After leaving the parking area, you descend toward Irvine Regional Park and pick up the Roadrunner Loop Trail. At 0.7 mile, you pass through a gate into Weir Canyon Nature Preserve. The trail ascends along Weir Canyon’s eastern wall, passing by a sandstone cave on the opposite side and into an attractive, oak-dotted meadow. Other than a few homes visible on the western hillside, there are few signs of civilization.
You pass junctions with Rifle Range Road and Blind Canyon Road at 1.8 and 2 miles respectively; these are routes that are used on some of the longer hikes. The goal of this particular hike is the “Canada de los Bueyes” (“Canyon of the Oxen”) monument, commemorating the canyon’s history as a trade route. The monument is 2.2 miles from the start, typically representing 45-50 minutes of steadily paced hiking. The group will rest here beneath the shade of some live oaks before heading back.
Text and photography copyright 2016 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.