Quail 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)
Time1 Hour (Total Time)
Total Climbing164 feet (50m)
Highest Elevation279 feet (85m)
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park NameIrvine 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.

Quail Hill Loop Trail 3
Look for this sign that marks the entrance into the main parking area and trailhead.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 4
There’s decent parking in the lot by the trailhead and much more parking across the street.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 5
Another great family-friendly aspect of the Quail Hill hike is the regular bathrooms with running water.

What You Need For The Hike

Quail Hill Loop Trail 2
This is a great hike for kids, whether walking or in a kid carrier.

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.

My Top Gear Picks

Garmin inreach review

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Fenix 5x Hiking Review

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

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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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.

View This Video in 360

Turn by Turn Directions

Quail Hill Loop Trail 6
The trailhead is easy to spot towards the middle of the parking lot.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 7
head straight down from the trailhead and make a left at the junction. A hike board has information on the trail and conditions.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 8
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.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 11
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.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 12
There’s a trail sign for the vista point, along with an interpretive audio guide point.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 13
Enjoy the views from the vista point and then turn around and go back to the junction.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 14
Make the right at the junction to continue on the Quail Hill Loop Trail.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 15
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.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 18
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.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 19
Eventually you’ll come back to the first junction. Just make the left to head back to the parking lot.
Quail Hill Loop Trail 16
That’s the hike. See you out on the trails!

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