The Santiago Creek Bike Trail (SCBT) is a paved, multi-use trail for bicyclists, joggers, walkers, families and nature lovers to enjoy along the Santiago Creek Waterway. The SCBT end points are Cannon St in Orange all the way to Main St in Santa Ana near the MainPlace Mall and Discovery Cube.
The trail is a scenic urban walk or ride on a ten-foot-wide trail spanning the length of 8.5 miles and a 2-foot-wide dirt shoulder on either side parallel to Santiago Creek. It connects connect parks, open spaces, recreational facilities, attractions and city amenities. Along the trail there are 4 parks, 2 bridges, shaded oak trees, benches and views of the creek’s unspoiled native vegetation and wildlife in their natural habitat.
Santiago Creek Bike Trail (SCBT) Details
Trail hours: From dawn to dusk
Trail end points:N. Broadway and MainPlace Dr. and Cannon St. north of E. Santiago Canyon Rd. (Orange); Villa Park Rd. and N. Wanda Rd. (Villa Park)
Length: 8.5 miles of trails (about 6 miles from Main st to Cannon St)
Cities on Trail: Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park
Parks on Trail: Hart, Grijalva, Yorba (also a dog park), Santiago, Fisher
Santiago Bike Trial Map PDF
Prohibited: Motorcycles, electric vehicles, golf carts, motorized vehicles, all terrain vehicles, off-leash animals, horses, horse drawn carriages or wagons, and dangerous animals.
The Santiago Creek is a protected waterway. Neither trail users nor their animals are permitted to leave the trail to wade, swim or ride through the Creek.
Santiago Creek Bike Trail Parking & Access Points
There are 15 official access points along the SBCT including four parking areas. The three parks are the best places to park as there is ample parking, water fountains, restrooms and other great amenities at each location. The Cannon St staging area also has parking but no amenities. All other access points have some residential parking where parking may or may not be limited. Some trail users have reported parking at Main Place Mall to access the trail at Main St but do so at your own risk as there are signs posted that say mall parking only.
Trail Access Points:
- Cannon St (Orange) – Staging area with parking.
- Villa park Rd/Wanda Rd (Orange/Villa Park)
- Collins Ave/Wanda Rd (Orange/Villa Park)
- Grijalva Park (Orange) – Staging area with parking.
- Hewes St/Villa Park Rd (Orange)
- Hewes St/Bond Ave (Orange)
- Bond Ave/Prospect St (Orange)
- Yorba Park (Orange) – Staging area with parking.
- La Veta/Tustin St (Orange/2 access points)
- La Veta/Cambridge St (Orange/2 access points)
- Hart Park (Orange) – Staging area with parking.
- Glassell (Orange)
- Main St (Santa Ana)
The best access for walking or biking access for Villa Park residents is at Collins Ave and Wanda Rd at the border of Villa Park. For a parking access point Grijalva Park or Cannon St are great options.
SCB Trail & Pets
Dogs and non-dangerous animals are permitted on the trail. Animals (and humans) are NOT permitted to leave the trail including wading or wading swimming in the creek which is a protected waterway. Animals must be on leash at all times. The leash must be no longer than 6 feet. There are also dog poop bag stations at intervals.
Along the trail is Yorba Park which has a dog park and separate access for small and large dogs. There is ample parking and other amenities plus it is newly renovated.
Features of Santiago Creek Bike Trail
- Easily accessible by foot or bike at many points
- Natural habitat and away from traffic
- Scenic views
- Great for families, kids, joggers, cyclists and nature lovers
- Compared to the Santa Ana River Trail (SART) it is deemed safer by trail users. Less crime, homeless, trash etc.
- Some residents leave water out for dogs
- Relatively flat, great for beginners
- Connect parks, open spaces, recreational facilities, attractions and city amenities
- Expansion of the trail also included two pedestrian bridge crossings, a runoff barrier fence, undercrossings, redesign of existing storm drain outlets, and design of new trail drainage
Cons of Santiago Creek Bike Trail
- .25 miles short of connecting the Santa Ana River Trail (SART). Going West from under the 5 Fwy along the Creek to Fisher Park on Flower where SART connects. Sign the petition!
Santiago Creek Bike Trail Guide
This guide assumes an upstream start in Santa Ana heading East to Northeast until concluding in Orange at the Cannon St staging area.
Santa Ana River Trail & Fisher Park (between the 5 Freeway underpass and Flower St.)
This is called the 1/4 mile “missing link” where many proponents would like to see a paved path to complete the connection from Santiago Creek Bike Trail to the Santa Ana River Trial.
Santa Ana (end/start of SCBT)
The trail begins (or ends) where Broadway dead ends at the MainPlace Mall which is a 5 freeway underpass. There is a short side path to the Main Place Shopping Center on Main Place Dr. As the trail begins you’ll see Discover Cube where the trail runs alongside the parking lot.
The trail leads into Santiago Park which runs along the creek and features a nature center, playground, picnic areas and archery range. There are restrooms and water available and parking which could be used to access the trail.
Hart Park – City of Orange
The trail continues East under the 22 Freeway, to the Glassell St access point, and into Hart Park. Hart Park has many amenities including parking, restrooms, water fountains, picnic grounds, playgrounds, swimming pools, baseball fields, tennis courts and much, much more. The trail itself goes through the park before ultimately reconnecting with the creek.
Cambridge St Access Points/Tustin St Access Points
Upon leaving Hart Park you’ll come across two more trail access points on Cambridge St, south of La Veta Ave. This trail will then lead to a double bridge (pedestrian and auto) before coming up on the Tustin St access points.
The bike and foot paths between Cambridge and Tustin Streets were professionally landscaped.
Tustin St to Yorba Park
Formally known as the Tustin Branch Trail (Tustin to Walnut Ave) this is a scenic natural environment path along the creek. An under-pass running beneath the 55 Freeway provides passage for the bike path and to Yorba Park
The newly renovated Yorba Park features a dog park, a new bathroom building, landscaping and a walking path that allows access for residents to SCBT from the street. Yorba Park also has historical significance according to a plaque. On the night of July 27, 1969, the Portola Expedition camped on Santiago Creek.
Yorba Park to Grivalva Park
As you’re leaving Yorba Park towards Grijalva you’ll cross the first of two bridges built for the trail. Once across the bridge you’ll head towards the Chapman Ave long underpass where kids can be heard shouting to hear their voices echo. Once through the overpass it’s mostly uphill but not too bad until you arrive at Grijalva Park. On the left (heading NE) are homes and on the right is the creek. The creek bed contains a number of mature native trees.
Leading up to Grijalva park there is mostly year round water which creates an abundance of wildlife. Turtles and frogs have been spotted in the water and water fowl, squirrels, racoons and skunks have been spotted near the creek. As you come up to the park the second of the two bridges built for the trail will be there. You’ll have a choice on direction to make at this point but before you do this may be a good time to stop and feed the ducks that hang out under the bridge area. During the spring you can see the baby ducks as well.
Grijalva has all other previously mentioned amenities plus an indoor gym. It’s fairly new and kept up in great condition.
Option 1: Grijalva to Collins Ave/Wanda Rd Trail (alternate end/start of SCBT)
Instead of crossing the bridge to towards Grijalva Park and the second option towards Cannon St you can head towards Collins Ave and Wand Rd. Many residents in Orange and Villa Park use this route to start and end their destination. This trail is an abandoned railroad right-of-way where a former Southern Pacific line ran that supported orchard growers. The trail goes through homes and condos on each side before hitting Wanda Rd where you can cross the street and continue to ride on very wide walking paths all the way up to the Villa Park Town Center.
Note: This is a short ride and unless you’re intending on ending up here most people will proceed with option 2.
Option 2: Collins Curve
Cross the bridge towards the Grijalva sports center and go left once you’re across. The trail will take you parallel with the concrete creek (short distance) until you reach a spillway which is called the Collins Curve. As you might expect you’ll curve at the point you see a locked gate and head towards Bond Ave.
Right before choosing a path there is Patterson Bower’s orange grove, the first such grove ever planted in the City of Orange.
As you turn onto E. Bond Ave. you’ll be riding alongside the Santiago Basin which is used to collect stormwater runoff and supply drinking water to Orange County residents. The view to the reservoir is block by a wall with warning signs of a 20 foot drop. However, there are windows in the wall to view the expansive reservoir (there are actually 3). Once you reach Hewes St you’ll turn left onto the trail and continue along the basin until you dead end at Villa Park Rd. You’ll cross the Santiago Canyon Rd, cut right and then continue on the trail to Cannon St.
Cannon St. Staging Area (end/start of SCBT)
Between Villa Park Road and Cannon Street are some of the most scenic and natural areas found on the creek within Orange city limits. The uplands on the north side of the creek provide striking views of the creek, wetlands and basic.
The Cannon St. Staging Area is the end/start of the Santiago Creek Bike Trail which is a gravel parking overlooking the creek. There are no amenities at this location.
For those walking, jogging or with mountain bikes there is an unpaved segment of the Santiago Creek Trail which leads up the creek and into Santiago Oaks Regional Park, past the Villa Park Dam and then into Irvine Regional Park.
The Santiago Creek Trail continues along the north side of the creek entering Santiago Oaks Regional Park. The trail is densely wooded in this area making the view to the south of the trail quite scenic.
Santiago Oaks Park is a unique plant and animal reserve with a mixture of riparian forest and woodland along the creek and grasslands and coastal sage scrub in the surrounding hills.
Orange Bike Lanes
Class II bike lanes (on-road bike lanes delineated by painted strips and other features) exist along the
- Santiago Canyon Road
- Serrano Avenue
- Taft Avenue
- Cannon Street
- Newport Avenue
- Chapman Avenue
- Jamboree Road
Additionally, Class I bike paths (off-road bike paths) exist west of Jamboree Road, extending from Chapman Avenue to the Irvine Park, west of Hewes Street, extending from Bond Avenue to Villa Park Road, north of Villa Park Road, extending from Hewes Street to Cannon Street, and west of Cannon Street, extending approximately 1,000 feet north of Santiago Canyon Road.