Santa Ana River Trail
Update: Long term plans by officials are to expand the continuous pathway from where it ends in the Orange County section at Green River road, all the way to Big Bear Lake, or the bottom thereof. We're not sure how this will take as there are many steps prior to completion, but this will be a great thing in the end!
The Santa Ana River trail is a Class 1 Bicycle path that starts in San Bernardino County Mountains that parallels the Santa Ana River bed. It is from the Pacific Crest trail and extends 110 miles to the Pacific Ocean (Huntington Beach). The Santa Ana River Trail is mostly paved and as no cars as cross traffic to engage when you are on the completed trail. There is that short section currently from Norco to Green River Road that you do travel on paved roads you have to share currently with cars till the final section that all three Counties (San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Orange County) have to complete. The trail is striped for bicyclist to ride almost 2 abreast going either East to West or West to East for the entire route. It is a joint effort to be built by all three counties.
More on the Santa Ana River bicycle path
For rough riders, the bike path starts at the skirt of the Highland mountains of California in San Bernardino. This boils down to a nature ride. Very close to the beginning of the Santa Ana river itself. Interesting boulders, desert plants, sage forests, birds, reptiles and bugs. Its entry point is on a country road called Green Spot. The entry is through Lugonia at Green Spot, San Bernardino. There is a cement wall commemorating the initiation of the source of the river and trail. The region is intended as a future nature park in a continuity of the trail from the mountain skirts to the beach as one continuous fun exciting bike ride.
Currently, a new section of this bike trail has opened up. It starts near Waterman Avenue, in San Bernardino near the Quality Inn. This is just off the 10 Freeway at Waterman Off Ramp going North about 3 blocks on the left hand side [near Sizzler] The trail now travels south through Riverside to Van Buren Avenue (approx 16 miles); Another section is completed now taking the trail to Norco. Going out thru Hidden Valley (from San Bernardino adding another 11 miles). There is only a small section left to connect between Norco and Green River, to makes this one continuous bike trail from "near" the mountains to the sea.
Orange County Portion
The section of the trail, from Green River golf course to Yorba Regional park, contains the only moderate hills of the largely flat trail. There is a total elevation gain of 604ft from the beach to Green River Road. In the morning there is a soft tailwind to the beach which dies off around 9 am. The wind will then change and increase to a noticeable 10 mph wind from the west. Lizards, squirrels, and rabbits can be seen throughout this region. This section is currently being repaved.
Occasionally there are homeless people camped in the Mid-Orange County section beginning where the trail crosses highway 57 and ending at Suburbia park in Costa Mesa. The beach area usually gets windy in the afternoon, which can make Westbound travel more difficult.
The Santa Ana River is often full of water fowl, mostly ducks, pelicans, and egrets.
The path ends where the river ends between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. From this point you can choose to either go towards Huntington and Bolsa Chica or go towards Newport Beach
Entry Points / Parking
1. The Eastern most terminal is in Riverside County on Green River Road. Exit Route 91 at Green River and travel West on Green River Road, down a long hill. Park on the right side. Or cruise further west on the 91 freeway...possibly to the little shopping mall at 22202 La Palma in Yorba Linda - and park there to begin your ride. (see Google Maps for details).
2. Mile 27 - Yorba Regional Park (link to map) in Anaheim Hills, which has multiple restrooms during daylight (patrolled by rangers and closed at dusk) and drinking fountains. There are many little pathways leading off the official paved trail that lead into this park in addition to a parallel dirt path that is mainly used by walkers and horses to avoid congestion with bicyclists, bladers, and joggers. There is an entrance fee for the offical park lots if you drive to this location to enter the trail, but at the westernmost end there is a free dirt lot with a small section of paved spaces. Alternatively, it is possible to park in the neighborhood across the street (north side of La Palma Ave). From here it’s about 25 miles to the beach. There is water available near the restrooms.
3. Mile 17.5 - Entry point at Tustin Avenue. Street parking is available on Riverdale on the west side of Tustin. There's a gas station and convenience store here, and porta-potties on the trail about 1/2 mile west of the entry point. For several miles from here toward the beach, there is landscaping and grassy areas, occasional porta-potties and potable water. Construction is ongoing with intermittent trail detours. The trail slopes very slightly toward the beach, but is predominantly flat with only small hills anywhere the trail dips under the street traffic.
4. Mile 16 - Entry point at Glassell. Porta-potties on the trail about 1/4 mile from entry point.
5. Mile 15 - Entry point and small parking lot on Lincoln.
6. Mile 14 (Restrooms) - Small park just before crossing the river near Honda Center. For several miles past this point going toward the beach, there is not landscaping, grass or much else to look at but the concrete paved river.
7. Mile 12.5 - The Orangewood exit off the 57 Freeway, near Angel Stadium - Parking near the Orangewood Exit along the 57 can be found at a park about one mile east of the bike path entrance, on Orangewood. Parking is also available along Rampart Street.
8. Mile 10 (Restrooms) - Edna Park in Santa Ana. At this point you cross over the bridge to continue onto the east side of the river. We also call this the 'halfway bridge" for those of us that ride to the beach from Yorba Linda.
9. Suburbia Park in Costa Mesa - Exit Interstate 405 at the Harbor exit and go South on Harbor Boulevard. Take the first right onto Gisler Avenue. Follow Gisler to California Street (Gibraltar Avenue) and turn right. Approximately one mile will be Suburbia Park. From here it is about 4.5 miles to the beach, or a nearly flat run to Newport Pier or Balboa Pier.
10. Mile 3.5 (Restrooms) - Fairview Park in Costa Mesa
11. Entry on Van Buren Ave. is accomplished just n/o Jurupa Ave. Parking here is at best, difficult.
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