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Lower Santa Ana River

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The Area’s Premier Bike Path, from the Mountains to the Ocean

Lower Santa Ana
Start from Yorba Linda for the longest, best ride in the county.

This is the southern half of the Santa Ana River Bikeway – the longest and best off-road cycling route in the Los Angeles area. (Click on the Upper Santa Ana, on this web page, for the northern portion.)

The bikeway runs more than 40 miles in all, from Green River Canyon, where the Santa Ana first emerges from the mountains in San Bernardino, through all kinds of residential neighborhoods and nature preserves, passing by The City, the Big A, and even affording a view of Disneyland’s Matterhorn in the distance.

The path finally reaches the Pacific Ocean between Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa, where you can easily connect to the bikeways to the north or south along the beach.

Fairview and Centennial are two of the larger parks along this half of the route; Mile-Square isn’t too far away, and there are lots of smaller rest stops as well. (Access is virtually continuous.)

To get a really good idea of the many moods of the Santa Ana Trail, Upper and Lower, check out Dan Slater’s photos of Southern California Bicycle Trails.

Thomas Guide, pp. 799, 829, 858 and 888.

Nearest current weather conditions (click for full weather report):
Click for Anaheim, California Forecast

The parks” along the Santa Ana are ample, with lots of activities and facilities. These pictures were taken in Centennial Park. Another big one is Fairview.

Centennial Park Centennial Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's still Southern California, however; so it should come as no surprise that the major part of the bike path is the usual "no frills."

 

If you start out by riding upstream and find the going surprisingly easy, don't assume you're in the Zone: there's a stiff sea breeze" along this river, and your return ride might not be so effortless!

 

The place is buzzing with power lines -- too bad cyclists can't tap into it!

 

On the right is one of the quaint old wooden bridges that are part of the trail.

 

A little overcast . .. that's common, especially nearer to the ocean, in the spring and summer, and on weekend mornings.

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15 Comments

  1. Carlos Ferenck Ochoa

    Question?
    would the idea of having a Self Serve Air Station placed at different path locations be a good idea specially when is solar powered?

    Reply
  2. Richard Bailey

    The alternate route on the south side of the river needs to have the street sweeper run up from PCH to about .5 miles. There are a lot of shell fragments on the trail that are causing a number of flat tires.
    Please help!

    Reply
    • BronyBip

      Wow, gorgeous portal. Thnx …

      Reply
  3. Ken

    For what it’s worth, The santa ana trail has been around since the late 70’s, I grew up near a trail opening and rode it all the time even went to the beach a dozen times.
    It even seems the same most of the way except for more greenry. great riding!

    Reply
  4. Mike

    I rode the path today and got mugged, beaten and my Trek Madone, cell phone, and bike bag stolen under the 1st street underpass. Be careful, SA police told me two high priced bikes were stolen during the last two days in similar events.

    Reply
    • Scott

      I’m so sorry to hear that – What did they do, hide, then knock you over as you rode by? Cowardly basatards…

      Be careful everyone!

      Reply
    • John

      I call B. S. on the mugging and beating. You wrote that you got mugged and beaten today yrt you are home writing your comment. Not much of a beaten and mugging. You wrote that the S.A. police told you that 2 high priced bikes have been stolen recently. How did the muggers-theives know which is the high priced bike and which is not? When yoe are riding at 20 mph. it is really hard to know which bikes are expensive snd which ones are not. Not a very good lie buddy.

      Reply
      • Scott

        Funny. So he would anonymously lie because… why? He works for trashlasreputation.com? Seriously, why would he make that up? LOL

        Reply
      • Chris

        I agree… you know nothing about the incident other than what he wrote. Who are you to claim he is lying or full of BS? Please keep post contributions positive.

        I do not know the 1st street underpass on this path but I know some are such you don’t want to be doing 20MPH through these underpasses due to the complexity of some turns and the narrowness of the path due to pedestrians, other obstacles, and ensure you don’t stray into the path of oncoming cyclists.

        Mike, thank you for sharing and I am sorry to hear about your loss and the mugging. I noticed most of the high-end bike riders on the San Gabriel trail were not riding solo. I wonder is it safe to ride by yourself on most of these trails? I just relocated to SoCal and am sad to hear this happened.

        Reply
  5. Rose

    The trail is pretty scary through the city of Santa Ana. We always ride in a group from 4-8 people. We even had a to ride at night once. Never again without lights. The trail NEEDS lights just like the ones on the Pacific Electric Bike Trail in the Inland Empire.

    John. You’re an idiot. Anyone with eyes is able to see the brand on a bike. If they are stealing bikes they know exactly what they are looking for and how much they are worth. Another thing, The only people going 15+mph are the pros. Everyone else on the trail usually go about 7-12mph. I have a speedometer so I do know what I’m talking about.

    Reply
  6. Don Wilson

    I’ve been riding the bike trails from Norco to San Bernardino and I venture to say that the scenery is worth the ride if you haven’t ridden it. Lots of wildlife so bring your binoculars. If you don’t like to ride hills you might want to get on the trail at Fairmount Park in Riverside and ride to Waterman ave. in S.B. about 23 miles round trip with great snow capped mountain views.

    Reply
  7. Buenavene Abragan

    I rode this bike path a few times in a group ride and I rode this bike path SOLO from San Bernardino to Huntington Beach, usually pass this mentioned area around 4-5 in the morning and will never again ride solo after reading this mugging incident. I recently purchased a new Trek Domane and I can’t afford loosing that investment. SART is still one of my favorite bike path regardless of the mugging incident.

    Reply
    • Mark Smith

      Can you tell me the total miles from San Bernardino to Huntington Beach?

      Reply
  8. Chris U.

    I have never ridden this path before in my life! But would like to. After reading these posts and since I’m a solo cyclist I’m almost afraid to. Though I do not have an expensive bike I’m just wondering would it be safe to go it alone or should I find someone to ride with??? Please reply via my email photoiz@photoiz.com w/the subj line bike path Thank You ?

    Reply

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