Turtle Rock is a neighborhood in the south part of Irvine, Orange County, California near Concordia University, Irvine and the University of California, Irvine. It is bounded to the north by University Drive and Mason Regional Park, to the east by the Strawberry Farms Golf Club and Ridgeline Drive, to the south by Shady Canyon Drive, and to the west by Culver Drive. Turtle Rock is one of the five “villages” originally forming Irvine; its 1967 founding is commemorated by a sculpture of a turtle in Turtle Rock Community Park & Turtle Rock Nature Center, at the corner of Turtle Rock and Sunnyhill Drives. A two-lane internal loop road, Turtle Rock Drive, encircles the village and carries traffic between housing developments and the city’s main streets.
Geographically, Turtle Rock lies in the San Joaquin Hills. Although the highest peak in the neighborhood is also sometimes called Turtle Rock, this hill has no official name. A lower peak to the north, also within the neighborhood, is called French Hill. While it is not entirely clear where the name “Turtle Rock” comes from, there is a rocky outcropping on Rockview Drive at the northern end of the neighborhood that is now maintained as part of an association park. This rock has the shape of the front of a turtle’s carapace, and is sacred to the Gabrieleño Native Americans. It is often locally considered to be the origin of the name “Turtle Rock”.
Planning and housing issues within Turtle Rock have been discussed regularly in Southern California newspapers. Henry Irving uses Turtle Rock as one of several test cases for analysis of urban communication.
Turtle Rock Preschool
Turtle Rock Elementary School
Bonita Canyon Elementary School
Rancho San Joaquin Middle School (located in University Park)
University High School
Aldrich Park, UC Irvine
Turtle Rock Community Park & Nature Center