Normally when someone tells you to take a hike, they are trying to get rid of you. Here in Southern California, where people often combine a love for the outdoors with fitness, we mean “take a hike” literally. Usually. Even if someone is trying to make you go away, there are some beautiful, scenic places right here in Irvine to go away to. Here are three of our favorites.
Quail Hill Park
Probably the quickest and easiest to get to from your front door. Quail Hill Park is the perfect hike to go on when you’re in need of a nature infusion, stat. The trailhead connects to an extensive trail network, including the Quail Park Loop Trail, the only one in the area that we know that allows dogs (on a leash, of course). A cool feature of this loop is the guided audio tour you can take via your mobile phone, or download via a podcast. Usually not what people mean when they say “communing” with nature, but you can learn a lot!
Red Rock Canyon
Be in Arizona without having to actually go to Arizona. Part of the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, the Red Rock Canyon trail is approximately 4.2 miles, and you’ll see how it earned its name. The colorful desert landscape is ready for its close-up. But also keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer and the rare mountain lion.
Peters Canyon Regional Park
You can pick up a number of trails here in Peters Canyon. Take the Lake View Trail to get a view of the Reservoir. The East Ridge View Trail is where you can use the nifty panoramic feature on your camera phone. Or check out some Black Willow trees on the Peters Canyon Creek Nature Trail, which runs along a – you guessed it – creek. Keep your eyes skyward for a variety of hawks that patrol the area, but not too much skyward where you miss the mule deer, bobcats, and coyotes.