Shady Canyon Trail Loop

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

You have choices. You can ride the Shady Canyon Trail starting at Quail Hill Trailhead. In 4.05 miles you will reach the far end at an intersection and wonder "What next? You can ride the Shady Canyon Trail plus Loop and return to Quail Hill from the opposite direction in 9.5 miles.

The Shady Canyon Trail plus Loop is a collage of four City of Irvine bikeways  the Bonita Canyon Trail, the Shady Canyon Trail, the Quail Hill Trail and much of the University Trail - that combine to form an almost seamless scenic 9.5 mile Class I loop ride through the hills of southern Irvine, east of the University of California  Irvine campus.

The trail climbs and descents. The total ascent was 451, descent, 486, according to the GPS. The Shady Canyon Trail climbs enough to provide a number of interesting vistas of Orange County below. Depending which way you ride, you can enjoy either a thrilling descent from Gatehouse Pass to Quail Hill or a grinding climb up the same and a long, but not steep descent down the Shady Canyon Trail and around the loop to the San Diego Freeway, then back to Quail Hill. There are 0.37 miles of sidewalk or bike lane riding on Culver to patch a gap in the trails.

Parking and Trail Access

The trailhead on this loop is the Quail Hill Trailhead.

Take the San Diego Freeway (405) south to Sand Canyon/Shady Canyon Exit and turn right, up Shady Canyon and go 0.34 miles, which is beyond the traffic circle and the fire station entrance to the Quail Hill entrance. Opposite Quail Hill is a community park. Further up the hill, the Shady Canyon Rd. becomes private and there is a gate house in the pass.



   October, 2011 by trailbear

They have finished the new trailhead at Bommer Canyon. Nice restrooms, water, shady porch, picnic tables, hiking and MTB trail out behind, parking and such. Now there is a pit stop between the bottom of the climb on Culver Drive and the water point ahead more

An Alternate Return Path

   June, 2011 by lonhall

I take this trail clockwise starting where Goldenglow hits University and dropping down into the open space to the trail. Once I've passed through Shady Canyon just before the trail crosses to the south side of Shady Canyon Rd, I veer right and follow more


   December, 2009 by trailbear

THE SHADY CANYON TRAIL AND LOOP, IRVINE, CA. 9.5 miles, hills, views. ***** 11.21.09 Who wants to ride a trail, just to turn around and ride it back? Out N Backs – I do that all summer. I want loops with new views and fresh trail around every more