Irvine Metrolink to Mission Viejo via Muirlands

CYCLE ORANGE COUNTY, COMMUTER RIDE, IRVINE METROLINK TO MISSION VIEJO VIA MUIRLANDS This route connects central Orange County to its southern portions by way of Muirlands Boulevard, cutting through the cities of Irvine, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo. This is an ideal commuter ride. Setting out from Irvine Transportation Center, on-street bike lanes travel wide roads over rolling hills. For those looking for a training opportunity, the ascent up La Paz Road will challenge even the most experienced riders. The ride then loops back to its start with lots of downhill sections. Near the ride’s start are two attractive side trips. Orange County Great Park, once known as El Toro Marine Corp Air Base, is an ambitious project that intends to remake 1,347 acres into a premier public park. The designs are grand and costly and while it is still in development, you can get a taste of things to come by visiting the Great Park Balloon. This free attraction floats 500 feet into the air and offers spectacular panoramic views of central Orange County. Located amidst the attractive landscaping are a carousel, Kid Rock playground and on Sundays, a farmers’ market. Also nearby is the Irvine Spectrum Center with over 130 retail and dining outlets catering to a wellheeled crowd. Located within this complex is the Giant Wheel, a 108 foot tall Ferris wheel. At 6.49 miles La Paz Road crosses Marguerite Parkway. For those looking to avoid a long and steep climb, turn left here and follow Marguerite until it intersects with Jeronimo Road approximately 0.7 miles away. This alternate route is also hilly, but tame compared to what lies ahead. From this point La Paz starts climbing. And it climbs. And climbs. Over a two mile stretch this hill ascends 400 feet! La Paz ends at Olympiad Road and following the Ride Log, turn left. Pavion Park is located nearby at the corner of Olympiad and Jeronimo roads and is a pleasant, shaded place to take a break. A left onto Jeronimo Road means the ride is returning to Irvine. From here generally expect downhill riding with a few rolling sections. At the El Tore Road intersection, to your left is a nondescript shopping center where you will find Chili Chutney Restaurant, featuring Afghan cuisine. This modest looking restaurant is the most interesting dining option located along the route. Kebabs, flatbreads and leek dumplings called ashak await you along with a range of flavorful chutneys. The last four miles from here are flat. At 16.23 miles the ride returns to Barranca Parkway, a keystone intersection with Rides 29 and 34. If those legs still have some energy left, connect with either route and take a tour through the heart of Irvine. FOOD AND DRINK This route passes a number of shopping centers with eateries but most are of the generic variety. ACCESS By bus, OCTA routes 86, 188, 211 and 758 all make stops at the station. By train, Metrolink and Amtrak make stops at Irvine station. By car, take exit 94, Alton Parkway, off of Interstate 5, and head north for 0.3 miles. Turn left onto Ada which ends at the station. Turn right to access free parking.
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: 27.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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