How to Get the Most Out of Irvine’s Parks and Trails

March 04, 2022
Quail Hill Hiking Trail Irvine

The city of Irvine began with a plan, to be surrounded by nature and enveloped in greenery and, through dedicated master-planning, it has achieved that goal. At every stage of growth, Irvine remained committed to balancing development with environmental preservation. The open space preserve protects thousands of acres of natural wildlife habitats and with 57,000 acres of protected open space, the city is home to a tremendous variety of parks, trails and open spaces.


Now that spring is fast approaching and days are getting longer, it is an ideal time to get outside and explore the expansive landscape that Irvine has to offer. Whether you’re someone who loves a challenging hike, prefers a relaxing picnic or falls somewhere in the middle, there is an outdoor space in Irvine that will suit your mood and lifestyle.


Plan a Picnic

What better way to usher in the cheerful feeling of spring than with a picnic? There are many parks in Irvine with countless grassy knolls to choose from for an entertaining excursion. If you’re looking for a truly natural experience, an open area such as Irvine Regional Park is a great space with a man-made lake that is perfect to picnic near. If you’re looking for a park with more activities, Woodbury Community Park features playgrounds and sports parks for kids, but also has ample open grass areas to unfurl a blanket and have a snack. If you like to be outside without sitting on the ground, there are also dedicated picnic tables.


Host a Party

Even though Southern California is sunny for most of the year, there’s something extra special about coming out of the winter months that makes people want to celebrate. Whether it’s a birthday party, anniversary, or Easter brunch, host your spring get-together at one of Irvine’s parks. Hicks Canyon Community Park has everything you need for a successful party including six picnic tables, four barbecues, electrical outlets and picnic gazebos. Make sure you get there early to reserve your space because the amenities are first come, first serve. 

While Irvine residents have access to many parks that are perfect for hosting, several Irvine neighborhoods have community spaces that are exclusive to homeowners. Portola Springs’ community centers feature pools, spas, barbeques and picnic areas where guests can enjoy the excitement of your next party.


Go for a Bike Ride

family biking at jeffrey open space trail irvine

Riding your bike is a fantastic workout that is low-impact and enjoyable for many. It is perfect for all levels of physical fitness–just choose a route for your desired level of difficulty. There are many exceptional areas to choose from in Irvine, but the Jeffrey Open Space Trail is a great place to start your biking journey. This 3.5 mile trail passes through tree-lined views and flat, bikeable walkways, making it a good area to bike for active families. 


Take a Hike

shady canyon hiking trail irvine

If you’re after a more vigorous workout, grab your most adventurous buddy and go for a hike! Hiking allows you to simultaneously take in your surroundings and get in a blood-pumping cardio workout. For a longer, more strenuous hike, the Shady Canyon Loop via Quail Hill Community Park spans 13.5 miles and offers exquisite views. Make sure you are prepared for this hike as there are limited bathroom facilities and almost the entire trail is uncovered. Don’t forget the sunscreen!


Enjoy a Stroll

family walking at quail hill loop trail irvine

One of the best parts about living in Irvine is the quick and easy access to trails and walking paths that don’t require any planning. In the cool of the evening you can step outside your home and you’re instantly near a trail that will allow you to soak in the sounds of birds and the beauty of wildflowers. The Quail Hill Loop Trail is an easy 1.8-mile loop that was named Orange County’s best hiking trail by Vacation Idea magazine in 2019. There are bathrooms available and ample parking, making it enjoyable for kids and leashed dogs to participate in as well. 


Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Although the parks and surrounding areas in Irvine are well maintained it is important to use caution whenever you’re engaging in outdoor activities. Irvine is home to a host of wildlife living in the expansive open reserves so while you’re less likely to see animals in well-trafficked areas, be aware that snakes, including rattlesnakes, are native to Southern California. Whenever you’re outside, be sure to check the weather beforehand so you can dress accordingly, and bring a water bottle to rehydrate during physical activity.

While this list will help you get started, find the perfect outdoor space for your fitness level and mood in Irvine with a complete list of the parks and trails in Irvine here. The boundless outdoor areas are one of the many benefits of living in Irvine. To take the next steps to find your next home in Irvine, click here.

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