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The Juanita Cooke Greenbelt is a wonderful escape from the often-busy streets and highways of Orange County. This 2.5-mile trail in Fullerton connects some of the area's quiet neighborhoods with the downtown area, making it a great commuter path as well. The wide mulch and dirt surface makes this trail ideal for equestrian, pedestrian and bike use, alike.
The trail is named for the woman who once served as a liaison for the Fullerton Recreation Riders, a local equestrian group that helped get the trail built. A plaque posted at West Valley View Drive gives the history of the trail. Also posted at this location is the route of a 12-mile mountain bike ride around Fullerton. Yet another trail, the Bud Turner Trail, named for another Fullerton Recreation Riders leader influential in making a trail a reality, connects to the greenbelt. Together, these two trails provide a refreshing space for all trail enthusiasts.
Setting out from the northern trailhead at Laguna Lake Park, you will pass through some established neighborhoods. (Although the trail's official north end is at Hermosa Drive near Laguna Lake, the path continues north until it is interrupted by the Coyote Creek channel. A rough informal path goes as far north as Imperial Highway, where the railroad spur still exists, and there is a signalized grade crossing.)
The scents provided by the flowering shrubs, citrus trees and the rest of the surrounding lush vegetation is a delightful bonus. As the trail approaches bustling downtown Fullerton, it crosses high above an active railroad corridor. When you reach Laguna Road and the trail appears to come to an abrupt stop, cross the road and follow Morelia Place (directly across the street from the trail) for a few hundred yards of on-road travel. At the intersection of West Bastanchury Boulevard, cross this busy street and pick up the mulch and dirt trail once again on the other side.
The last stretch of the trail is especially wide. Neighbors on both sides of the trail have put in beautiful landscaping, including lush gardens and high palms. Near Harbor Boulevard, very close to downtown Fullerton, the trail ends. Just to the left of the trail endpoint is a large Orange County courts parking area that can also be used by trail-goers.
The Orange County public transit system offers access to the trail. Visit the OCTA's website to plan your trip.
For those driving, parking is available at a number of locations along the trail. View the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions. Locations include the northwest entrance to Laguna Lake Park, located at the intersection of Hermosa Drive and Lakeside Drive and the North County Court municipal building trailhead.
The JCT is a 2.5 mile dirt (mtb) trail that is perfect for newbies and family. The address is 360 W Valley View Dr. Park in the south section behind the Fullerton Courthouse where the trail starts. You will see the trail in front of you. Once you're set get on the trail. There will be several street crossings and you'll be sharing the trail with walkers, joggers, and horseback riders. Always give the horseback riders plenty of leeway, always! You start with a moderate uphill. The trail is rather smooth with a few bumps. Whenever passing others remember to call yourself out to let them know where you'll be passing. There will be a few spots with gravel so take care. Halfway through you'll come to a staircase. You can try to ride down it lightly tapping your brakes. Don't be embarrassed to walk it. Nothing wrong with being safe, than sorry.
The second half starts when you cross Bastanchury Rd. and continuing on Morelia Ave. in front of you. After about a quarter mile it tees at the end and JCT continues on your right in front of you. It gets a little more bumpy with mild runts here and there. JCT ends when you see Laguna Lake to your left and a rest area in front of you with a couple of benches. Feel free to explore the lake and return by backtracking. Do this several times to get familiar riding on dirt and gravel with bumps and runts. After that you may want to get on the Hiltscher Trail which will be a little more demanding. Remember to always wear a helmet and show courtesy to others.
Juanita cook trail has a new bench with a lost/found box (East of the bench) close to water fountain for people/dogs. Tabebuia tree in full blossom with pink trumpet like flowers and yellow center. Safe, quiet and scenic during last visit. This trail is also used by mountain bikers and is dirt.
Family friendly, short and fun. Well kept with a few path ‘’oasis’ stops set up by the local residents. Definitely going back.
Trailheads for both the Juanita Cooke Greenbelt & Bud Turner Trails can be found at the same GPS coordinates N33.91010 W117.93399 elev 351’ with street parking on Lakeside Dr.
North from W Hermosa Dr. to the W Las Palmas Dr overpass, the trail is covered with bark mulch, then dirt as it descends for about ½ mile to north end where a flood control ditch cuts the trail. The view expands here over the valley to the tops of the San Gabriel Mountains, or lower to Graffiti on the back of the apartment carports.
The trail is much more Hoof friendly then wheel friendly, it has more mulch than some gardens. The dirt portion is rough with scattered gravel. The steep, rough grade south out of the W Bastanchury Rd crossing required me to turn around at that point from both directions.
The South Trailhead has parking in the North County Municipal Court lot at N33.87948 W117.92570 elev 209’. Going North at the first street crossing, W Valley View Dr., the curb is not cut, turn left up hill to a private drive. the other curb is cut at the trail. Only the Street crossing at N Richman Ave & W Hermosa Dr. has cut curbs on both sides.
Even with these detractors I enjoyed the trails ambience and conservations with the hoofers.
"This trail follows the route of an abandoned railroad spur, so the grades and curves are gentle. I rode my mountain bike along the entire length of the trail in both directions. It is a good ride. Single tracks running parallel to the old roadbed in some places provide a more interesting ride for skilled bikers.
The trail is shown on the 2003 Thomas Street Guide on page 738.
The central portion of the trail runs along Morelia Ave. If you don't know that, you might have trouble following the trail.
A plaque posted at W. Valley View Dr. gives the history of the trail. Also posted at this location is the route of a 12-mile mountain bike ride around Fullerton.
Another trail through Hiltscher Park to Euclid Street makes a good side trip.
Although north end of the official trail may be at Hermosa Dr. near Laguna Lake, the path actually continues north until it is interrupted by the Coyote Creek channel. A rough informal path goes as far north as Imperial Highway, where the railroad spur still exists and there is a signalized grade crossing."
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