The ‘Red Rocks’ section of Black Star Canyon that is usually closed to all but guided tours will be opened to the public for a day on July 23.
OC Parks officials announced Wednesday that hikers and bikers will be permitted to explore Red Rocks — known for its sandstone cliffs, stunning views of Irvine Lake and the Santa Ana Mountains, and native scrub habitat with abundant wildlife — with no guide required.
But guided tours by naturalists also will be available.
It is part of a 20,000-acre expanse of rugged canyons and native landscape donated to OC Parks by the Irvine Co.
The first-ever day of unguided access is meant to celebrate the year anniversary of the donation.
The area also will eventually become part of a brand-new county park, Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park, that will span about 2,000 acres. For now, tours will remain docent-led after July 23.
Access is from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with speeches expected by Orange County Supervisor Chairman Bill Campbell and Vice-chairman John Moorlach starting at 9 a.m.
“In the backdrop of where in the event is going to be held, you’ll be able to see the prominent sandstone formations of the Red Rocks,” said OC Parks Division Manager John Gannaway.
The event also will include information booths with live birds of prey on display.
The event and parking on Black Star Canyon Road are free.