Quail Hill Trail
|In This Guide|
|Distance||2 miles (3.2 km)|
|Time||1 Hour (Total Time)|
|Total Climbing||164 feet (50m)|
|Highest Elevation||279 feet (85m)|
|Park Name||Irvine Open Space Preserve|
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.
What You Need For The Hike
You don’t need any special hiking 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.
- Trail running shoes or sturdy sneakers
- Fitness clothes (appropriate for the season)
- A camera
My Top Gear Picks
Do you have the right hiking gear? Will it stand up to the test? I waste lots of money testing hiking gear every year so that you don’t have to. My gear picks are solid choices that will serve you well on the trail. I don’t do sponsored or paid reviews, I just the share actual gear that I use all the time that’s made the cut. Here are my top picks:
- Garmin InReach Mini Emergency Beacon – Hiking out of cell phone range? Make sure you have one of these two-way satellite texting devices in case your hike doesn’t go as planned. You can read my full review here.
- Injinji Sock Liners With Darn Tough Hiking Socks – This combo is a great way to avoid blisters out on the trail. I have some insider-hiking tips for avoiding blisters here. Pair them with modern, high-tech hiking boots (for women and men) and your feet with thank you.
- Garmin Fenix 5x Plus – It’s a little pricey, but man do I love this thing. Not only does it have all the topo maps and navigation tools on my wrist, but it also acts as a long battery life, rugged, outdoors version of an Apple Watch. Track your workouts, sleep, heart rate, all that stuff.
I have lots of other great, sponsor-free, trail tested gear picks on my “best gear” page.
See My Full Gear List
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.
I highly recommend bringing a good paper map with you, and then using it in conjunction with a GPS device. You can see the navigation gear that I use here (I’m currently using the Fenix 5x Plus and love it). Just download the GPX file below and load it onto your GPS.
Many people also print out this web page for the turn-by-turn images. And if you really want to get tricky, YouTube Premium lets you download videos for offline use, so you can download the hike video and save it.
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
View the Route on Gaia GPS (Free)
→ HikingGuy users get 20-40% off Gaia GPS premium - click here ←
What You Need to Know For the Hike
- Can a 100 year old shrimp egg be waiting for rain at Quail Hill? The trail holds more than meets the eye. There are a lot of natural features that come to life at interpretive markers along the route. Use your phone to dial the number on the marker or use this link to get to the audio for these interesting snippets.
- Don’t be shocked if you see some wildlife. Roadrunners and quail are fairly common, rattlesnakes and coyote less so. Nothing dangerous here, just make sure you give any snakes a wide berth. I don’t see them often but they are here.
- The police occasionally ticket people who have their dogs off-leash.
- Quail Hill is an active habitat restoration area, so please stay on the trails.
- The colors are best in spring.
- The trail is relatively new; it was opened in 2010.
- The dirt pack on the trail is good, you can get away with a jogging stroller if you need to.
Quail Hill Trail Directions
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You can watch this video in 360 degrees.
I have a version of this video where you can pan around in 360 degrees and see every angle of every trail junction, the trail conditions, and more. This is how you can use and view them.
Turn by Turn Directions
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