The Emerald Canyon Trail in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park reopened after a four-year closure last week. (Courtesy Laguna Canyon Foundation / July 7, 2014)

A popular hiking and biking trail in north Laguna reopened this week after a four-year closure, the Laguna Canyon Foundation announced in a news release.

A rainstorm in 2010 had washed out two large gullies in the middle of the Emerald Canyon Trail in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, according to the release.

In order to reopen the trail, OC Parks partnered with the foundation and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy to construct two bridges, one traversing a 6-foot gully and the larger span bridging 50 feet.

Emerald Canyon Trail begins at the top of Bommer Ridge — it's about a three-mile hike in from the Willow Canyon staging area — and travels through some of the most stunning habitat in the wilderness park.

"This is one of my favorite trails in the park," said foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones. "It moves through oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub and some of our most pristine habitat. Plus, it's shady, so it's a great summer hike. I'm so glad that this unique partnership between our three organizations made this trail accessible again."

The foundation and OC Parks funded the $60,000 project, Jones said, while volunteers helped clear brush and install the bridges.

The foundation is a nonprofit corporation working to protect 20,000 acres that include marine preserves, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and adjoining open space in Irvine, Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods. 

—Bryce Alderton

Twitter: @AldertonBryce