The Santa Ana River Trail follows its namesake river from the Pacific Ocean to San Bernardino. It experiences a significant gap from Corona to the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area where it resumes its journey to its end in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. The lower trail at the ocean is relatively flat and easy along a paved, wide pathway that is the most heavily trafficked section. The trail connects two state and one municipal beach with the towns and cities to the east. There are many access points along the trail, with parking in lots, on streets and in parks. Note that although some parking is no doubt free, there may be times when you'll have to feed a meter on a side street or pay a small fee in an individual lot. You'll also find a large number of restrooms and water sources along the way. The river in the lower section is mostly cement-lined, but it becomes open and free-flowing further east and north as it travels out of the mountains to its watershed at the Pacific.
As you pass through Anaheim, you'll notice the terrain becomes a bit hillier but not steep, and you'll see the Los Angeles Angels' Stadium across the river. The trail passes through urban parkland and willow forests, with scenic giant cottonwoods towering above you. The environment is varied here, from urban and commercial to dappled sun, to shady highway underpasses with murals painted on the walls.
This is a multi-use trail, so be prepared to meet horses, bicyclists, in-line skaters, runners and wheelchair riders. It's wise to stay to the right to avoid mishaps, and to keep Fido firmly leashed and out of harm's way.
This is a pawrfect short- or long-distance trail that can be customized by hopping on and off along its course and taking advantage of its many urban areas for food, water and rest before tackling the next segment. Your fur-pup will enjoy the hike as well, as you meet other hikers and their pawsome pooches. Woofderful!
While there is no motorized traffic on the trail itself, there are places where traffic needs to be dealt with in intersections or short segments of city streets. Keep Fido securely leashed and remain aware of the environment around you.