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)
Total Ascent (?)164 feet (50m)
Highest Elevation279 feet (85m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park ContactIrvine Open Space Preserve
Park Phone714-508-4757.

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.

Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.

La Sportiva Spire

La Sportiva Spire GTX

Good for light and more hardcore hikes. Feels like a sneaker but protects like a hiking boot.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Rei Flash 22

REI Flash 22 Pack

This is a super-light and comfortable backpack that can hold everything you need on a hike, including a hydration bladder. It also works great as a general backpack or carry-on.

See Colors & Prices

Joby On Triee

Joby Smartphone Tripod

Make your photos stand out by using this lightweight, do-anything tripod. The Joby attaches your smartphone to trees, rocks, whatever you can find on the trail. Folds down compactly too.

See the Joby Options

Make sure you have all the right gear before hitting the trail!.HikingGuy Best Gear List

* 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 REI 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

Here’s what I use to navigate my hikes. I recommend a combination of paper and electronic options with backups.


Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is a planning and navigation tool that you can use on your phone, tablet, and the web. I use it on my phone when I need to interact with the map and know where my position is on it. I use it at home on the computer to plan routes. You can overlay maps such as public lands to find out free places to camp. It’s a powerful tool.

HikingGuy Discount on Gaia GPS

Fenix Nav

Garmin Fenix Watch

This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.

Fenix Prices & Reviews

My In-Depth Review

Topo Map

Topo Maps & Guide Books

Don’t be caught out if your batteries die. Take a topo map with you on the trail. Some people also print my guides out for use on the hike.

I also highly recommend taking a map and compass navigation course. It’s a few hours, it’s fun, and it could save your life.

Map and Compass Navigation Basics Classes

Don’t just rely on a cell phone, especially if you are hiking in the backcountry.

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

Video Directions

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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.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 17
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.