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Irvine Regional Park Loop

  3.5 ( 4 ) Favorite


5.0 mile 8.1 kilometer loop


Ascent: 267' 81 m
Descent: -269' -82 m
High: 718' 219 m
Low: 529' 161 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 11% (6°)


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Trail shared by John McKinney

A easy tour around the outside of Irvine Regional Park.

John McKinney

Features Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly Though perhaps a bit long for short legs, the hike has mellow grades and escapes the hubbub of the main park.


An easy 5 mile loop hike that takes users around the outside edges of Irving Regional Park.

Need to Know

The park is open from 6 am to 9 pm in the spring and summer, and 6 am to 6pm in the fall and winter. The park office hours are 8 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday.

Monday to Friday the fee to park is $3 per vehicle, and Saturday and Sunday the fee to park is $5 per vehicle. Rates may be higher on holidays or for events.

Remember, many of the trails are multi-use, so know the right-of-way rules and be aware of other users.


From the parking areas head south to the trailhead for Horseshoe Loop Trail. Take the trail heading west and at the junction turn left heading south to the junction with Puma Ridge Trail; turn left again to stay on Horseshoe Loop Trail.

At 0.8 miles you'll reach Watertank Lookout. Enjoy the views then continue on the trail; Puma Ridge Trail will join from the south at 1.1 miles. At about 1.3 miles the trail meets Peters Canyon Road. Follow this as it turns north and then west. The trail branches off at 1.8 miles continuing northwest.

Many trails intersect this trail, just follow the main path for Horseshoe Loop Trail. At 2.5 miles at the junction, turn right to head west on Santiago Creek Trail, then at 2.7 miles turn right again to take Roadrunner Loop Trail north. This parallels the road before crossing it to reach the main trail. At the junction, go right to take the eastern leg of Roadrunner Loop Trail north; this leg is better defined than the western one. At about 3.4 miles turn left to stay on Roadrunner Loop Trail which briefly heads west before turning south. Take the western leg of Roadrunner Loop Trail south through willows and riparian growth. At 3.9 miles the trail crosses a connector trail and then turns east. Cross the road and head south to meet Santiago Creek Trail.

At the junction turn right to head west on Santiago Creek Trail, which in about 0.1 miles intersects Horseshoe Loop Trail. Turn left to head south on Horseshoe Loop Trail; it turns east at 4.6 miles and crosses the main park road near the Park Office. At 4.8 miles you'll intersect and turn left onto the trail that heads back to the parking lot.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

Flora & Fauna

Oak and sycamore groves and wildflowers are likely to be spotted on the trail.

An assortment of fauna can be seen in the park if you head to the Orange County Zoo! Let's hope you don't see of these unusual critters while out on the trail though!

History & Background

Irvine Regional Park is the oldest park in Orange County; it was established in 1897 when James Irvine donated the 160-acre oak grove. The park, at 477 acres, is also the largest traditional county park (rather than wilderness park) in Orange County.

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ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed

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Jan 5, 2019
Bryan Pavalko
Feb 18, 2018
Karin Erickson

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