Skip to content

Explore Quail Hill

PictureYoung Quail Hill hikers

Families, fitness enthusiasts, and dog lovers can all experience this unique trail daily, from dawn to dusk
The 2.8 acre Quail Hill Trailhead opened to the public in June of 2007 and is conveniently located near the 405 freeway on Shady Canyon Drive. Despite the trail’s close proximity to the freeway, the loop is removed enough to provide a peaceful outdoor experience for bikers, hikers, and your four-legged friends. The Landmarks feature many special places unlike anywhere else and among them, the Quail Hill Preserve is a distinctive and ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. Quail Hill hosts stewardship activities and docent-led hikes monthly and is open for self-guided access daily, from dawn to dusk.
Unlike other wilderness trails within the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, Quail Hill is the only trail open to dogs, as long as they are on a leash and stay on the trail. Quail Hill also hosts the first trailside cell phone audio tour in Orange County where you can dial in for free to hear natural resource interpreters and researchers explain important features along the trail. The audio tour can be enjoyed while on the trail or from anywhere with a phone or any other portable device. Visit for more information on how to dial in to listen to the tour.

​”Quail Hill is a highly trafficked and very visible location within the City of Irvine Open Space Preserve and has excellent cell coverage,” said Brian Hughes, Community Programs Manager for the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. “Because of this, the Loop Trail was chosen for the cell phone audio tour as a way of meeting our goal of connecting people to the land. It also is a way for us to communicate the message of protection, restoration, and enhancement, that is spread through all of our activities across the Landmarks, even when a docent or staff can’t be present to do so in person. The cell phone tour has additional stops located in Newport Beach’s Buck Gully, City of Irvine’s Bommer Canyon and OC Parks’ Irvine Ranch Open Space Preserve.”
The Quail Hill Loop Trail is an easy two-mile natural surface trail at the foot of Quail Hill that is open daily for self-guided hiking and mountain biking from dawn to dusk. This wide and fairly flat trail is ideal for families looking to explore the outdoors together or for solo hikers wanting to bring their dog along for a peaceful walk on their own time.
Participants desiring a more demanding and immersive wilderness experience are encouraged to sign up for guided activities that depart from the Quail Hill Trailhead.  Many of these activities explore the surrounding Irvine Open Space Preserve, including Bommer and Shady Canyons, providing a meaningful experience with our unique natural surroundings. 
The Mid-Week Hike at Quail Hill on Wednesday, February 6 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. is a favorable activity for those who want to get out and hike away the stresses of the week. There are several single-track trails and steep climbs throughout the 10-12 mile hike, but it is done at a moderate pace to enjoy the views, plants, and possible wildlife along the way.
Another challenging hike through Quail Hill is the Thursday Morning Trek on February 21 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. The hike is seven and a half miles and involves some climbing, but rewards you with astounding views overlooking Laguna Canyon and several rock formations alongside the trail.
Aside from hiking and biking, outdoor enthusiasts also have a chance to give back to the land by volunteering for stewardship programs. At Pulling Together at Quail Hill on February 21 from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. you can help the Conservancy staff keep wildlife healthy by weeding artichoke thistle from the trail loop. By weeding this invasive plant, you are helping native plants thrive to benefit local wildlife, such as Mule Deer, Red-Tailed Hawks, and various grassland birds.
Members of the community are also welcome to join the Quail Hill Habitat Restoration on February 26 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. This is a habitat in need of your help and Irvine Ranch Conservancy makes it easy by providing all tools and training necessary.                            
Whether you are looking to explore the lands on your own, gather your family for a fitness challenge, or give back to the land, Quail Hill has something for everyone. For more information about self-guided access or docent-led programs at Quail Hill, visit