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The Freeway Trail, as its name implies, parallels the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405) on its brief route through Irvine. With power lines overhead and neighborhoods blocked by sound walls to the immediate north, the trail won't win any awards for beauty.
Why use this trail then? It's simple: for the connections. At its western end, the trail meets the San Diego Creek Trail, the spine of Irvine's extensive trail network. Near its midpoint, the trail connects to the meandering Woodbridge Trail, while farther east, the trail meets the Jeffrey Open Space Trail, which heads both north and south. Take it south via the trail bridge over I-405 to reach even more trails in the city's system.
Trail users should note that the Freeway Trail's segment east of Jeffrey Road can only be accessed via a brief detour on the Jeffrey Open Space Trail. Just be sure to continue east on the north side of I-405 instead of crossing the trail bridge.
As the Freeway Trail is primarily a connector trail, there are no dedicated parking lots or public parks nearby. Consider parking at one of the trailheads for the many connecting trails to access the Freeway Trail.
THE FREEWAY TRAIL, IRVINE, CA.
2.92 miles, blacktop
The Freeway Trail – the name says it all. You will not be taking the kids out of school and driving half a day to ride it,but it does have it's uses.
This is a blacktopped 2.92 mile connector trail with on-grade street crossings. It runs between the San Diego Creek Trail and the JOST Trail (Jeffrey Open Space Trail). Yes, it runs along the San Diego Freeway in a Southern California Edison right of way complete with high tension lines and the thunder of traffic. What is not to like?
We like it for the connections, loops, figure 8s and other polygon ride options it makes possible on the southern Irvine trails. Running roughly a mile south and somewhat parallel to the San Diego Creek Trail, it joins:
The San Diego Creek Trail – backbone of the Irvine trail system.
Two bike/walks (concrete biketrail/sidewalk) and bike lanes on Harvard Ave. All will take you to the San Diego Creek Trail at Bill Barber Park and beyond.
A neighborhood bike/walk leading inland to join other bike/walks in the ‘hood.
The Class 2 bike lanes on Culver Dr.
The Woodbridge Trail Overpass leading to the University Trail further south and the San Diego Creek Trail further north.
The JOST. It end on Jeffrey Rd., where you have a choice of Class 2 bike lanes or the Class1 JOST (Jeffrey Open Space Trail) bike trail to San Diego Creek or over the freeway to JOST Junction and the University or Shady Canyon/Quail Hill trails.
It gives you a lot of options in ride planning.
The eastern “Devoid of Charm” section is rather stark and open, but once you have navigated and survived the two part Culver Dr. Crossing, it dives behind a sound wall and suddenly there is landscaping, clipped grass, a bench and a lot more charm. It’s like this to Trail’s End at San Diego Creek.
TRAIL RATINGS… * to ****
Trail surface = *****.
Mostly blacktop. Some concrete. One lane wide. All in good condition and not noticeable by reason of humps, patches, ruts and such.
Scenery = ** to ***.
From “You got to be kidding!” in the Devoid of Charm Section (resembling the Blasted Heath in MacBeth) to a pleasant landscaped – but not heavily landscaped – ride further west beyond Culver. Not the Venta Spur Trail, nor the Hicks Canyon Trail nor even close in regard to landscaping, but pleasant none the less. If you have doubts, scamper over to the Devoid of Charm Section for a comparison. For trail side amenities there is even a bench.
Facilities = **
Well, there is that bench. If you are looking for restrooms, water, parking and such – ride on to Bill Barber Park.
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