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Tulare's Santa Fe Trail is located in the heart of the Central San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive agriculture areas in the world. The trail extends east to west across the central portion of the town of Tulare, connecting residential areas at each end with the downtown commercial area. The trail occupies a wide corridor, with planted trees and landscaping, separate biking and equestrian components, trail lighting in the central business area, distance markings each mile and multiple rest stops, featuring benches and drinking fountains.
The trail runs along a former spur line for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad and Tulare Valley railroad, which once played a key role in transporting locally grown crops to markets across the country. The rail line ceased operations in 1994, and the trail was completed in 2004. The trail can be accessed easily along its entire length. Virtually all of Tulare's schools are within half a mile of the trail, providing a ready corridor for safe student travel.
Near mile 1, you'll come to Live Oak Park, the city's large, multi-use park, which lies adjacent to the trail on the northern side. The central portion of the trail passes directly through the downtown and redevelopment area. Enclosed on both sides with white picket fencing, the equestrian trail is particularly attractive, although it does not extend through the downtown area.
Plans are underway to extend the trail along the same former rail corridor to meet Visalia's Santa Fe Trail in the larger city to Tulare's north.
To access the northeast trailhead, take State Route 99 to E. Prosperity Avenue. Follow the road east for 1.6 miles. The trailhead is on the right. There is no parking here, but a shopping center 0.5 mile west on E. Prosperity has plenty of parking.
To access the southwest trailhead, take SR 99 to E. Tulare Avenue (SR 137). Go west for 0.8 mile, turn left and follow M Street for two blocks. Turn right and follow W. Inyo Avenue for 2 miles. The trailhead is at the intersection of W. Inyo and W. Soults Dr. There is no parking at the trailhead, but you can look for parking in the neighborhood south of W. Soults Dr.
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