Turtle Hill Trail

Quail Hill Trail

In This Guide
  • Where is the Quail Hill Trailhead in Irvine?
  • What to Expect on the Hike
  • Turn-by-turn Hike Directions
  • Quail Hill Trail Maps & Video
Distance2 miles (3.2 km)
Hike Time1 Hour (Total)
Difficulty (?)Easy
Total Ascent (?)164 feet (50m)
Highest Elevation279 feet (85m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park WebsiteIrvine Open Space Preserve
Park Phone714-508-4757.
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Quail Hill Trail is a 2-mile loop hike that offers expansive views goes through the Irvine Open Space Preserve, designated a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of the Interior.  The family and beginner-friendly hike goes along the easy to follow Quail Hill Loop Trail, offers parking and bathrooms, interpretive displays, and wildlife viewing opportunities, all within minutes of suburban Irvine, CA.

Where is the Quail Hill Trailhead in Irvine?

Use this trailhead address: Quail Hill Trailhead, 34 Shady Canyon, Irvine, CA 92603.

There are indoor bathrooms and water fountains at the parking lot. If the parking lot is full (fairly common), park across the street in the larger lots and walk across. It’s a popular place to start bike rides and runs, so get there early to beat the crowds.

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Look for this sign that marks the entrance into the main parking area and trailhead.
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There’s decent parking in the lot by the trailhead and much more parking across the street.
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Another great family-friendly aspect of the Quail Hill hike is the regular bathrooms with running water.

What You Need For The Hike

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This is a great hike for kids, whether walking or in a kid carrier.

You don’t need any special equipment to do this hike, it can be done as a pleasant walk. It can get very hot later in the day, so bring water. And after rains it can be muddy.

La Sportiva Spire

The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Opsrey Stratos 24

I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) 

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Quail Hill Trail Maps

There aren’t a lot of twists and turns here, another reason why this hike is great for families. Once you’re on the loop, just follow it in a circle.

Click To View Map

Quail Hill Trail Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

I’m a big fan of GPS watches to follow my GPX track (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (full review here). I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy and does a lot of the same things.

Quail Hill Topo
There isn’t a lot of climbing on the hike aside from an initial uphill. It’s a nice, gentle route.
Quail Hill 3d
The trail follows the upper slope of the hill, and then returns on the flat portion.

What You Need to Know For the Hike

Road Runner
Keep your eyes open for roadrunners. I see them almost every time that I’m here.

Quail Hill Trail Directions

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Video Directions

FYI I have a version of this video in 360/VR format. Not familiar with the benefits of 360 video? Then watch this.

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Turn by Turn Directions

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The trailhead is easy to spot towards the middle of the parking lot.
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head straight down from the trailhead and make a left at the junction. A hike board has information on the trail and conditions.
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The trail is wide and easy to follow.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 9
A roadrunner! Keep to the trail and leave the grasslands to the animals. All of this habitat is being restored.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 10
Here’s the only small hill on the hike. It’s minor and over soon.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 1
If you do need a break on the small hill, look to your right and take in the great views. That’s Saddleback Mountain in the distance.
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At the top of the rise there’s a vista point off to the right, and is worth checking out. Otherwise the trail goes straight.
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There’s a trail sign for the vista point, along with an interpretive audio guide point.
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Enjoy the views from the vista point and then turn around and go back to the junction.
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Make the right at the junction to continue on the Quail Hill Loop Trail.
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The trail heads downhill with views of the small hill / rock formation in the distance. Over the hill is Tanka Farms, another great destination if you have kids with you.
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Keep your eyes open for the interpretive audio stations. They make the landscape around you more interesting.
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As you head back along the other side of the loop, you’ll have nice views of Saddleback Mountain in the distance. This section is flat.
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Eventually you’ll come back to the first junction. Just make the left to head back to the parking lot.
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That’s the hike. See you out on the trails!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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