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Stretching through the heart of the small city of Santa Paula, the Santa Paula Branch Line Trail provides an important off-road means of getting around, as well as a chance to experience some rich railroad history. This rail-with-trail runs alongside the old Southern Pacific Railroad line, which is now used for tourist trains run by the Fillmore and Western Railway, the host of countless film and television productions.
The trail's western end runs parallel to the tracks and Santa Paula's Main Street, separated respectively by a fence and a line of trees. Traversing across the city, with homes to the north and businesses to the south, the trail soon crosses across the tracks and enters the historic downtown area of the city. Continuing to follow the tracks, the trail takes users right next to the new Ventura County Agriculture Museum and the historic Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, built in 1887, which is now home to the local Chamber of Commerce and gift shop. From there, the trail heads slightly away from the tracks and runs along E Santa Barbara St for several blocks before ending at 12th Street.
While the trail may not offer much in the way of natural tranquility, it's a fantastic way for locals and visitors alike to experience Santa Paula. The county is planning on developing a longer trail along the Southern Pacific Railroad line that would connect to Ventura, but for now rail-trail enthusiasts should be sure to check out this short gem.
Parking is available at the western trailhead off of Main Street, as well as at the Ventura County Agriculture Museum/Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce.
To reach the western trailhead, take Highway 126 towards Santa Paula. Take exit 10 and turn left onto S Peck Road (if coming from the east, turn right onto Faulkner Rd, then left onto S Peck). Cross W Harvard Blvd and then take an immediate right onto Main Street - the trailhead is on the left and parking is on the right.
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