Bommer Canyon Trail Hike Guide
- 4.8 miles - Moderate Effort
- Or: 2 miles easy and flat
- 2 (Total)
- 900 Total Feet of Climbing
- Max Elevation of 1,010 feet
- No Dogs Allowed
The Bommer Canyon Trail, a natural oasis nestled within suburbia, offers a little bit of everything. This easy hike showcases natural beauty, has lots of wildlife spotting opportunities, an interesting history, and sweeping vistas as you approach the highest point in the San Joaquin Hills. The full 4.8 mile hike includes some uphill, but if you want to do something easy, I'll show you an easy 2 mile option that's flat and great for families. Bommer Canyon is a National Natural Landmark and California's first Natural Landmark; it's worth visiting.
- Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Bommer Canyon Trail
- Parking for the Bommer Canyon Trail
- Insider Hike Tips and Recommendations
When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.
Where is the Bommer Canyon Trail?
The main trailhead is in Irvine, CA. Use this address:
6400 Shady Canyon Trail, Irvine, CA 92603
Gear For the Hike
This is an easy trail where you can get away with fitness clothes or light hiking gear. Good trail shoes will help on the dirt, and trekking poles can help on the steeper climb at the end. Bring 1L of water. It can get hot in the summer; there isn't any shade.
Top Spring 2023 Gear Picks
Osprey Stratos and Sirrus 24 Daypack ( Amazon | Sirrus REI | Stratos REI )
Garmin Mini 2 Satellite Communicator ( Amazon | REI )
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles ( REI | Amazon )
As a hiking guide, I test lots of hiking gear. On my picks page, I'll show you all of the gear that I actually use. I don't accept paid promotions or talk about the stuff that doesn't make the cut. It's just the gear that works best, so you don't have to waste your money.
All My March 2023 Top Gear Picks
Bommer Canyon Trail Maps
Overall the trails are well-marked and well-maintained. Please stay on the trails and respect the signage.
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
Free Nav Tools: GaiaGPS - AllTrails - LAST DAY - 50% Off AllTrails+
Guides to Help You Navigate
- You'll be hiking through the San Joaquin Hills, which were once underwater, but have now been pushed up from tectonic action. When the 73 Toll Road was built (which you see at the end of the hike), they actually unearthed 5 million year old fossilized whales.
- Bommer Canyon was part of a Mexican land grant. When the Americans took over, the Irvine family eventually acquired it.
- Bommer Canyon became the center of the Irvine cattle ranching operations, called "Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp." Every spring all the cattle that roamed over what is now the greater Irvine area were gathered here in a roundup. The cattle camp remained in operation for almost 100 years (1870s-1970) until the Irvine family realized that there's more money in real estate than cows.
- The entire Irvine Ranch area became a National Natural Landmark in 2006, and then the first California National Landmark in 2008, when Arnold Schwarzenegger hiked here as part of the designation ceremony. The Natural Landmarks Program "recognizes the conservation of sites that contain outstanding biological and geological resources."
XX Hike Directions
Stay in Touch: Monthly Email - New YouTube Videos - Instagram
Turn by Turn Directions
If you are doing the shorter 2 mile hike, simply go back the way you came from here.
From here you just return the same way you came up. If you need water or a bathroom, just visit the park across the street. This trailhead is popular spot for local to access Crystal Cove State Park, as there's no entry fees or PCH traffic.
This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).
Don't Miss Out
- Monthly(ish) Email Newsletter - A list of new guides and important info for hikers.
- YouTube - Subscribe for new video notifications. The best way to get notified every time a new guide goes up.
- Instagram - I occasionally share pretty pictures from my hikes, broadcast live from the trail, and let you know about new guides.