THE HICKS CANYON TRAIL, IRVINE, CA
STATS: 2.28 miles long, black top & high speed (underpasses) east of Culver Dr. in the upper portion. The loop, with Peters Canyon Wash Trail and Portola Parkway bike lane = 6.04 miles.
The Hicks Canyon Trail is a delightful little ride. If only it went for miles and miles more. It is shady, nicely landscaped, has good amenities and two on-trail parks for trail heads and full service pit stops. You can do it as an Out & Back, but I like to combine it with the Peters Canyon Wash Trail and do a loop-back. Once Upon a Time it was a road from nowhere to nowhere way, way out in the orange groves. That was then. This is now. Gated communities and such are the current cash crop.
The western end joins the Peters Canyon Wash Trail at GE: 33.728755° -117.775359°. This is the junction of the PCWT, the Hicks and the West Irvine Trail – an equestrian trail just over the bridge. The eastern end is up on Portola Parkway, 0.2 miles NW of the Jeffrey Rd. & Portola Parkway junction.
A city planning map shows they hope to someday extend the trail to join an extension of the Jeffrey Open Space Trail above Portola Parkway. They plan to run the JOST all the way down to the trail overpass on the 405 Freeway. Some Day the JOST will be a major N-S trail. Today, no. Currently, two sections of the JOST are open, some miles apart.
I ride the Hicks by ascending the PCWT to its end at Portola Parkway, then taking the Class 2 bike lane SE along Portola for 2.74 miles to the top of the Hicks Canyon Trail. Having put in my uphill bit, I get to coast down the Hicks and have done this at 12 mph with a missing pedal.
I have tried the sidewalk on the south side of Portola – too narrow, not a bike/walk. I have tried the Class 1 bike/walk on the north side. Nice ride for 0.82 miles to the Sidewalk Closed sign. The sidewalk is not closed. It does not exist beyond that sign, despite the city map showing it going for miles more. Just use the bike lane, which is wide enough to be comfortable. Watch out when hitting the right turn lane portions. I am Highly Visible in bike lanes: flasher on helmet back, flasher on bike, lime green vest with reflective stripes. Show me a helmet strobe and I will get one. Still, if you are in the midst of a Tweet when I disturb you be being in the way…
At the top of the trail you will see the bike lane to the right and a bridle trail to the left across a wide landscaped median strip. Nice amenities: lots of flowering whatevers along the Hicks and bollard lighting for night walks and such. At 0.46 miles down the trail is the upper “trail head” – Citrus Glen Neighborhood Park with one restroom, one drinking fountain, four picnic tables, four tennis courts, twenty parking spaces and more. I stage out of the lower “trail head” – Hicks Canyon Community Park, near the Peters Canyon @ Hicks Canyon junction. It has a lot more parking and a shopping center next to it.
Shortly after you leave Citrus Glen, the trail dives under Yale Ave. and continues the downhill run. There is a fountain on the left side just beyond the underpass. The next point of interest is a bridge on the south side at GE: 33.722454° -117.765226°, by way of a line of old eucalyptus trees which probably marked the edge of an orange grove Back When. The bridge leads to a concrete neighborhood bike trail/side walk which forks and runs in several directions through the neighborhood. One part comes out across the street from the Hicks Canyon Community Park, suggesting an alternate way back.
The next and last underpass is Culver Dr. When you pop up on the far side, you are running along the bridle trail and the parking lot for the Hicks Canyon Community Park, a full service “trail head.” Beyond HCCP is an on-grade crossing of Central Park Ave. and then in 0.3 miles you are back at the junction of Hicks Canyon Trail and the Peters Canyon Wash Trail.
The whole loop – up the Peters, along Portola and down the Hicks comes to 6.04 miles – a nice loop ride. GPS says: Max Descent = 283’, Max Ascent = 303’. I always wonder why they never come out the same. Errors in the signals, I suppose.
TRAIL RATINGS * to *****
Trail surface 5* Good black top and concrete surfaces. You don’t notice them under tire.
Scenery 5*U Very nice for an urban environment. It is neither Yosemite nor the back of the warehouse district. You are in a nicely landscaped wash between neighborhoods, not going along the freeway or in a commercial zone. Irvine really is Bike Friendly – like their sign says, and this is just one of 44.5 miles of their Class 1 trails. The Hicks is a quiet, scenic and relaxing ride.
Facilities 5* There are two on-trail parks with facilities – Citrus Glen in the upper section and Hicks Canyon Community Park in the lower section. There are benches scattered along the trail and a water fountain below the Yale Underpass. Water at trailside gets you a 5*.
Hicks Canyon Community Park. 3864 Viewpark Ave. 3 drinking fountains, 1 restroom, 6 picnic tables, etc.
Citrus Glen Neighborhood Park. 12170 CitrusGlen. 1 drinking fountain, 1 restroom, 4 picnic tables, etc.
Trailside water fountain and assorted benches.