The Santa Ana River Trail is a 12-foot wide path following the Santa Ana River, a waterway that is cement-lined through much of Orange County but free flowing in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The popular trail, currently open in two disconnected segments, links inland neighborhoods, businesses and shopping districts with the beach.
In Orange County, the trail begins at a junction with the Huntington Beach Bicycle Trail, providing direct access to the city's two state beaches and busy municipal beach and pier. Extending north, the trail skirts the edge of Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley before emerging into an industrial section of Santa Ana.
The City of Orange is next, where you'll begin to see the gigantic "A" marking the stadium of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, situated directly across the Santa Ana River from Orange. Professional sports fanatics will be pleased with this stretch, as the next landmark is the home arena of the National Hockey League's Anaheim Ducks.
Continuing into Anaheim, the river and trail turn east. Views of both the Chino Hills and the increasingly meandering river make this stretch of the trail particularly scenic. The trail itself becomes slightly hillier here—a challenge for those coming all the way from Huntington Beach. In the far western reaches of Corona (just beyond Yorba Linda), the heretofore continuous trail ends, just south of the Green River Golf Club on Green River Road.
A significant gap exists between this endpoint and the resumption of the trail at the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area east of Norco, so the second segment is best tackled in a separate trip. From Hidden Valley, the trail continues east through both industrial and residential sections of Riverside, with scenic views of the Santa Ana River never far away.
The next city is Colton, the entrance point to San Bernardino County. Vistas of the dry river are punctuated by the busy train tracks and active industrial properties clustered around the river along this stretch. The trail currently ends at S. Waterman Avenue, shortly after it crosses the San Bernardino city line.
Plans call for the trail to eventually run for 110 uninterrupted miles all the way from Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Coast in Huntington Beach, with the gap in the trail from Corona to Norco a significant priority.
There are numerous access points and places to park along the Santa Ana River Trail's route. Refer to the TrailLink map for exact locations and directions.