Turtle Rock to UC Irvine Loop

ORANGE COUNTY, ROAD RIDE, TURTLE ROCK TO UC IRVINE LOOP This outing combines a leisurely tour of UC Irvine’s campus with a hilly, training ride through sleepy Turtle Rock, one of the original five “villages” of Irvine’s planned community. Although not an especially long bike ride, the climbs are steep enough and long enough to get the heart rate up and set those legs on fire. This bike ride starts at the entrance of Turtle Rock Community Park, nestled amongst the San Joaquin hills. Shady Canyon Trail, passes along the southern edge of the park and the peak above it is part of Bommer Canyon, a beautiful natural space crisscrossed by miles of trails perfect for an end of ride hike. This is one of the few rides that start with a climb that is thankfully short, followed by a giant reward for your efforts. After peaking at 0.64 miles, the next 2.67 miles are completely downhill. Traffic is very light through this neighborhood and the on-street bike lanes are wide, but stay alert and ride within your limits. At 1.81 miles this route reaches Campus Drive and traffic through here is heaviest on weekday mornings. The corner of Peralston Drive and Campus is a confusing one. First, the road is also named Berkeley Avenue and second, the trail leading into the Irvine campus is narrow and easy to overlook so keep an eye out for it. UC Irvine is an extraordinarily bike friendly campus with bike paths both within and around the campus. Following this ride will take you pass the Student Center, by the sculpture garden and on to Aldrich Park, the campus heart. This beautiful green space was modeled after New York’s Central Park and just begs to be explored. Park the bikes and have a picnic. Once you have finished wandering the park and campus, return to the route where the path passes the Phoenix Grill and travel through the suburban student housing section of campus until you reach California Street which returns you to Campus Drive. Once you turn back onto Turtle Rock Drive at 5.95 miles, you will be facing the steepest, most challenging part of the ride. The next four miles are uphill, at times steep. Near the finish, at the corner of Turtle Rock Drive and Sunnyhill, you will find the Turtle Rock Trail. Although officially designated a bike trail, residents use it primarily as a hiking trail and frown on cyclists zooming through here. However, it is a wonderful hiking opportunity with a spectacular peak to view the hills from. The trail is 2.3 miles long and will carry you to William R. Mason Regional Park. Side Trip Explore the UC Irvine campus by bike, taking advantage of the many bike paths. Near the ride’s start is Turtle Rock Community Park with its attractive nature center. You will also find the Turtle Rock Trail starts here and is an excellent hike through this attractive neighborhood. FOOD AND DRINK You will find most of your dining options at the University Center, a shopping center located along Campus Drive across from the UC Irvine campus. Stop in at Steelhead Brewery for a rejuvenantive pint of local brew, or for a healthier, yet tasty, alternative visit The Veggie Grill. ACCESS There By bus, OCTA route 79 travels along Campus Drive, however there is no stop at Turtle Rock Community Park. By car, take exit 4 University Drive off of Interstate 405 and head south. After 0.7 miles turn left onto Ridgeline Drive, 1.4 miles later make a left onto Turtle Rock Drive. Turn left onto Sunnyhill, park will be on your right.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: <1 hr
Fitness Level: Medium
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Estimated Distance: 13.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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