Best Hiking in Irvine
Whether you are looking to get outside to enjoy a casual stroll or interested in challenging yourself to an outdoor excursion, there are numerous trails located in Irvine to suit every type of outdoor enthusiast. Here’s a list of the best of Irvine parks and recreation.
The Jeffrey Open Space Trail
This trail is a major component of Irvine’s network of interconnected open spaces, parks, trails and pristine wildlands. The 3.5-mile trail includes 11-foot paved bicycle and pedestrian trails, 5-foot paved walkways, and 5-foot unpaved pedestrian paths. The city of Irvine, the Irvine Company and Irvine residents collaborated on the trail’s design and character, connecting Irvine’s past, present and future. The ultimate vision for the Jeffrey Open Space Trail is to become the city’s second uninterrupted mountains-to-sea trail. It will travel from preserved open spaces north of the city all the way south to Crystal Cove State Park. Visitors can enjoy expansive meadows, paths through shady, tree-lined stretches, and pedestrian bridges. Sustainability is a key trait of this trail. The layout uses recycled water and native grasses to significantly reduce water usage. Villages of Irvine residents living in villages adjacent to the trail, including Woodbury, Stonegate, Eastwood Village and Cypress Village, enjoy the opportunity to connect with nature easily and often through an underpass conveniently connected to the trail. The Jeffrey Open Space Trail is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely walk, a picnic with the family, or a morning bike ride.
This popular trail is centrally located near the foothills of Tustin and Irvine, and is known for its unique blend of native habitat and views extending to the coast. A 6.5-mile moderate loop with a number of graded roads and trails, it is an ideal spot for jogging and hiking. It features coastal sage scrub and grassland habitats, plus a reservoir that is accessible to visitors. There are three main trails within the canyon, the East Ridge Trail, the Lake View Trail and the Peter’s Canyon Creek Nature Trail. The East Ridge Trail provides stunning views of Peter’s Canyon and the surrounding area. The Lake View Trail allows visitors access to the 55-acre lake, Upper Peter’s Canyon Reservoir. Peter’s Canyon Creek Nature Trail guides hikers through lush groves of rare black willows and cottonwoods. Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they remain on their leash.
City of Irvine Open Space Preserve
The Irvine Open Space Preserve encompasses a significant portion of Irvine’s protected natural landscape, which includes parks, greenbelts, trails and wildlands. It has been designated a natural landmark for its preservation of critically important plant life. Some of the most notable Irvine hiking and biking trails within the preserve include Boomer Canyon Trail, Quail Hill Trail and Shady Canyon Trail.
Bommer Canyon Trail
Bommer Canyon recently re-opened to the public on March 28, 2016 after undergoing a habitat restoration and trail repair project. The new and improved landscape features the preserved trail, as well as a rustic camp area fit for parties, weddings and campouts. The 15-acre facility includes picnic tables sheltered by a lush sycamore canopy, a covered stage area and a barbeque pit. On the trail, hikers can enjoy the scenery as they stroll past ancient oak and sycamore groves and rough rock bluffs. There are a variety of trails for visitors to experience, but it is important to be aware that only select trails are open to the public for self-guided daily access, while others are restricted to docent-led activities due to their sensitive habitats. These sensitive habitats are part of what makes Bommer Canyon so unique, as it is home to many endangered species of local plants and wildlife. Each month, Bommer Canyon holds Wilderness Access Days to allow hikers and bikers the opportunity to explore the network of exceptional trails and views of the area. To see a list of upcoming activities in Bommer Canyon, click here.
Quail Hill Trail
8-mile trailhead is perfect for hikers of all experience levels due to its easy surface pathways. It is open daily for self-guided tours and docents are also available to help guide visitors and share the features of Irvine’s southern wilderness. However, if visitors wish to explore and still learn about the trails without guides, there is a self-guided cell phone audio tour offered on the Quail Hill Loop Trail. To listen, you simply dial 949-743-5943 and follow the prompts to hear narration by natural resource interpreters and researchers. The audio tour is the perfect tool to allow visitors to move at their own pace, while still learning and exploring the environment surrounding them. Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they remain on their leash.
Shady Canyon Trail
This trail is an extension of the Quail Hill Preserve and is an incredibly scenic route along Shady Canyon Drive in southern Irvine. It is a 4-mile journey and extends through Irvine Ranch and protected Irvine Ranch natural la This trail, fit for more advanced hikers, is more of a challenge because of the hilly terrain that consists of both paved and dirt trails. The reward of this trail is certainly the dramatic views that are most spectacular when the trail crosses with Bommer Canyon. Visitors can enjoy sights of the adjacent hills and the affluent communities nestled amongst them. Dogs are permitted on the trail as long as they are kept on their leash.
All of these trails have something unique to offer and allow Irvine residents the chance to be active, educate themselves and most importantly enjoy the natural beauty and wonderment that comes with living in the Irvine community.