Access to untrammeled nature is a key feature of all Irvine Company planning. That’s why we decided to permanently preserve and donate more than 90% of the land in Orange Heights.

The decision, made in close consultation with city leaders, neighbors and environmentalists, continues the Company’s open space legacy in Orange that began in 1897, with a gift of a 160‑acre oak grove that created California’s first regional park, Irvine Regional Park. Since that time, we’ve preserved and donated more than half of the historic Irvine Ranch – some 57,500 acres – to enhance Orange County’s quality of life.

The original vision for Orange Heights approved by city leaders was to build 12,300 new homes on 7,000 acres in east Orange, extending from Jamboree and Santiago Canyon roads to Irvine Lake. But in 2014, the Company decided to preserve more than 90% of the land and donate it to the County of Orange, establishing a vast interconnected network of open space east of SR-241.

“The lands represented by this gift are the last pieces of a spectacular open space puzzle that has been assembled on the Irvine Ranch. ”

Michael O’Connell,
president and CEO of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy

On May 15, we joined dozens of local community leaders and outdoor enthusiasts for the ribbon cutting of Red Rocks Wilderness Area, a 1,500-acre area that features 8 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The trails take you up to one of the most striking geological landmarks: The Red Rocks of Black Star Canyon. These towering peaks date back 20 million to 40 million years, developing their striking color and jagged appearance over time as the sediment oxidized and eroded, along with the gradual uplift of the Santa Ana Mountains.

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Wagner and OC Parks Director Pam Passow open new trails in the Red Rocks Wilderness area on May 15.

In addition to preserving 6,600 acres of the Orange Heights property, we accompanied the land gift with funds to create new public access opportunities.

Last year the Saddleback Wilderness Trailhead opened, leading to 3.3 miles of trails to an overlook offering 360-degree views

The trails are accessible through guided and self-guided programs. You can learn more at:

The 2014 open space gift leaves 396 acres of the original 7,000-acre property, on which we’re now finalizing plans for attractive neighborhoods within a high-quality community of 1,180 single-family homes, all adjacent to the vast open space.

The community design includes a new public trail network connecting Irvine Regional Park to Peters Canyon Regional Park for hikers, bikers and equestrians. In addition, Santiago Canyon Road between Jamboree and SR-261 will be widened to three lanes in each direction, while establishing new bike lanes, landscaped medians and walkways.

Over 90% of Orange Heights has been preserved as natural open space, creating 6,600 acres for public enjoyment.

The new community will feature 1,180 single-family homes with direct access to a new public trail network that will connect Irvine Regional Park to Peters Canyon Regional Park.

Traffic light synchronization at multiple intersections near the community will be funded by the project.

Santiago Canyon Road will be widened to three lanes in each direction between Jamboree and SR-261, with new bike lanes, landscaped medians and walkways.

Economic benefits of Orange Heights include $45 million in new annual spending for local merchants and $5 million in recurring property and sales tax for the City of Orange, according to a third-party fiscal analysis.

A state-of-the-art fire prevention and mitigation plan for the project was created in collaboration with the Orange Fire Department.

Development of the community is expected to begin this summer.

Regular updates will be provided on the construction schedule and when new homes will be available at




Enjoy the pristine wilderness preserved as part of the Orange Heights plan. Public access opportunities include 3.3 miles of trails in Saddleback Wilderness that opened in 2023 and 6 new Red Rock Wilderness trails that will open in May 2024. You can learn more about guided and self‑guided hiking experiences at


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