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Santa Ana River Trail

Start your ride at the beach and head toward the mountains on this superb multi-purpose trail for all ages & abilities.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 24 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  You would think that traveling from the beaches of Huntington and Newport to the Chino Hills would be a tough workout. But... more »

Tips:  - Rent a cruiser bike in Newport Beach or Huntington Beach.
- Try this trail in the spring if you want to see miles and miles of... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Huntington Beach Trail meets...

Santa Ana River Trail

2. Talbert Marsh Trail junction

A short trail called the Talbert Marsh Trail heads north from here to Brookhurst Drive.
Prior to this point, the Santa Ana River Trail begins near the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The trail takes off from the Huntington Beach Trail.
Both the Santa Ana Trail and the Huntington Beach Trail are sometimes (and on some maps) referred to as "bikeways"... More

3. Cross trail bridge to stay on Santa Ana River trail

4. Adams Ave. access trail

You will notice many side trails to explore off of the Santa Ana River Trail. On your first trip, you may want to stick to the main trail, then explore the tributary trails on future trips.

5. Exit to Talbert Park Costa Mesa

Beware of merging traffic from the side trails.

6. Modern jungle of power

A grove of power lines provide power to the valley and an interesting contrast to the trees and flowers along the trail.

7. Ditch crossing to adjacent trail

I haven't had a chance to explore this trail, but according to one of the users that I spoke with, it goes all the way to the bay. If you get a chance to try it, let me know.

8. Moon Park

Okay now this park is small but very cool. If you've ever wanted to walk on the moon, here's your chance. Just take one giant step for mankind onto the replica moon surface complete with craters and lunar look.

9. MacArthur underpass and street access

You will find dozens of trail access points including those located at most of the major street crossings. However, you will not always find trailhead parking at all of the street crossings.
I have included a link to a web page with all of the Santa Ana River Trailheads by county.
Some Orange County trailheads include: Huntington Beach State Park,... More

10. Harbor Blvd underpass

You will recognize Harbor Blvd. as the street the runs near Disneyland. You will find street/trail access at this underpass.

11. 1st Street underpass

You will find many different flower displays along the Santa Ana River trail, especially during the spring. Near the 1st Street underpass, you will come across one of the first of many climbing floral displays adorning the trailside fences.

12. Santa Ana College

SAC is located near the trail and offers degrees in such high demand courses as nursing and fire technology. A link to the college is provided with this trail guide.

13. rest area and trail facilities

Throughout the length of the trail, you will find numerous wonderful and clean rest areas that often include restrooms, picnic tables, and drinking fountains. You will also find parks with play structures, side trails, and shady areas.

14. River View Golf Course

If you notice a high fence with lots of lush landscaping on the other side, you've probably figured out that you're following along the edges of a golf course during this stretch of the trail.

15. Garden Grove Blvd.

If you are hungry or just want to take a trail break, this trail access point is one of the few that has restaurants available.

16. Rest stop...

... with drinking fountains and picnic table.

Bet ya didn't know the trail ran right by Angel Stadium.
What a great way to commute to the game. Avoid the traffic hassles, save gas, and get some exercise.

This trail has not one, but two major sports venues right along its border. And both the Angel Stadium and Honda Center are easily accessed from the trail.

19. Trail switches back...

then crosses the bridge and continues across the river.

20. Rest area...

... with bathrooms, picnic tables, and drinking fountains.

21. Lincoln Ave...

...has a small trailhead parking area.

22. Circle K convenience store

This little store is a life-saver when you're hungry and thirsty. It is located directly off the trail and much easier to see when you're going west to east. You will find a small access trail with a gate that allows you to enter the store parking lot.
Stock up here, because there aren't many other places along the trail.

23. Imperial Woods Trail

Another fine side trail leads by a plant nursery and offers a shaded area for weary travelers.

24. Imperial Highway

The trail passes under the Imperial Highway and then crosses the river at this point. At this point, you are not too far from Keno's Restaurant and the Anaheim Hills Bike Shop.

25. Park with benches, playgrounds and rest rooms

If you are going as far as S. Weir Canyon Road and turning around to head back down, then this is a great resting spot. You will find bathrooms, playgrounds, benches, picnic tables, and plenty of shade at this nice (fairly large) park.

26. Weir Canyon

This is a good place to turn around and make tracks back to the beaches. Eventually, this trail is scheduled to unravel all the way to the mountains and provide over 100 miles of continuous trail.

27. Birds

All along the trail, you will see a variety of birds from ospreys to seagulls.

28. Flower lovers rejoice!!

If you enjoy gazing at flowers, then you'll love this trail... especially in the spring. From red flowers clinging to towering fences to yellow flowers belly-crawling along the ground to commercial nurseries overflowing with tropical-looking dazzlers, you'll find them all as you make your way from ocean to mountains.