In the Inland Empire we are fortunate to have one of the best kept secrets flowing right through our entire region. The Santa Anna River Trail (SART).
The Santa Ana River starts in the San Bernardino Mountains and runs for 100 miles all the way to the coast at Huntington Beach. Trails along the river which merge together to create the SART system meander down through Redlands, Riverside, Corona and multiple locations in Orange County as it heads out to the Pacific Ocean.
The trails feature bikeways, paths for walking and equestrian riding. There are places to stop and enjoy nature, views, and even a few local historic sites all along the trail and bikeway. Some of the parks that you’ll pass as you travel the trail include Riverside’s Fairmount Park, Carlson Dog Park, and Martha McLean/Anza Narrows park. You’ll also pass right by the Hidden Valley Wildlife area where you can stop and catch spectacular views looking out over the river bottom towards Mount Baldy. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see a few red shoulder hawks riding the thermals above the river.
Thanks to the recent efforts of the SART Trust, awareness of this urban oasis has been increasing. The Trust just recently turned the reigns over to the Santa Ana River Conservancy. The conservancy brings together entities from 3 counties, 17 cities, and multiple special jurisdictions through which this contiguous trail system travels. Having this green, forested artery travel through and along our urban sprawl adds value to our region.
Studies have shown that open space and trails increase property values and quality of life. A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 57% of those polled would choose a home close to parks and open space over one that was not. Bottom line, green, open spaces make us healthier and happier so let’s get out and enjoy this hidden gem.