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If you are looking for a quick escape from the smog and traffic of Southern California, take a trip along the Tustin Branch Trail. Currently open in two disconnected segments, the trail runs on the former Tustin Branch, a Southern Pacific line used to deliver oranges from the Tustin Packing Company to markets from 1905 until the corridor washed out at Santiago Creek in 1969.
The older northern trail segment winds through quiet, palm-tree filled neighborhoods of Tustin. Feel the Santa Ana winds as they blow your worries away on this pleasant trail. The path, also known as the Esplanade Trail here, occupies a wide strip of land, providing much more park space than a traditional trail. One reason not to miss this Southern California gem is the landscaping: the colorful flowers and shrubs that line the trail make for a serene experience. The hard-packed clay trail surface is comfortable for all types of trail use. You are likely to meet friendly locals out enjoying the trail.
The trail parallels Esplanade Avenue for its entire route and has two busy road crossings: the first at E. 17th Street about 0.5 mile from the start and the second at Vanderlip Avenue, about 0.25 mile from the southern end of the trail. Just beyond Vanderlip Avenue, the trail runs past, and serves as a wonderful outdoor outlet to, urban Guin Foss Elementary School. A short distance beyond the school, the trail ends at Warren Avenue.
The southern trail segment begins at the intersection of Irvine Boulevard and Newport Avenue after a short gap that can be bridged via sidewalks on Warren Avenue, Holt Avenue and Irvine Boulevard. The trail here is a concrete sidepath along Newport Avenue that leads to shopping centers and some residences. Several major streets with signals interrupt the flow of the trail.
Parking for the Tustin Branch Trail is available in a public lot between the trail and Guin Foss Elementary School on Vanderlip Avenue.
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