The City of Fullerton Ca., in the north of Orange County, has approximately 28 miles of recreational trails, which are spread throughout the city.
Hikers, equestrians, mountain bike riders, walkers, and joggers take advantage of these scenic trails.
On Wednesday afternoon, Hiking Stick and camera in hand, I spent 4 hours walking 4 of the trails in the network, from Downtown Fullerton to the border with Buena Park, a total of 8 miles or so.
There are 11 Featured Trails with Info Links on the city website, and 8 other trails that are listed on the site, and related interactive maps.
In Orange County, if you know where to look, there are corridors of nature within the urban landscape, and what one finds in Fullerton is a prime example.
The OCTA Bus #43 will take you to within a block of the start of the Juanita Cooke Trail, by dropping you off at the Jack in the Box at Harbor Blvd., and Berkeley.
The trail entrance is on Berkeley, west of the intersection, and can't be missed, as can be seen in the picture above.
A wide dirt, and sawdust, trail leading you away from the city into a quiet forest-like landscape between residential houses.
Eventually you come to the Hiltshire Trail Connector, a spot with some unique benchs lay claim to the landscape, near a water fountain, and a private garden.
As I rest a minute I notice a few walkers, joggers, and cyclists, coming down the trails.
An interesting thing along the trail is that you can see into the backyards of some homes, and that many homes have wooden, brick, or concrete steps leading from the trail to their lock gates, allowing them easy access to the trail when ever they want it.
The lack of graffiti anywhere I walked is refreshing, and I saw families, and also individuals walking their Dogs.
For bicyclists this trail has the option of riding a rugged parallel trail set above the main trail, and many of the trails in the system are of a narrow, bumpy, winding nature popular with Mtn. Bikers, so everyone has to be on the lookout for foot, and pedal traffic, and share the trails safely.
Eventually you come to an old Stone and Iron Bridge that crosses over a railroad track that dissappears into the canyon on either side of the bridge (That's the tracks just behind me in the picture!)
Sit here awhile, and ponder not just all the beautiful trees you have encountered already, but the natural landscape around you at this moment, in this spot where the only sounds you hear are those of birds chirping in the trees, and sky.
If, like me, you like to write, and are looking for a nice quiet place to contemplate your navel, and get in touch with your muse, these trails provide plenty of spots to do so.
After a stretch where you walk through a canyon where the homes are high above you on one side, and mostly below you on the other, giving you a real feeling of aloneness, the trail spends a bit of time parallel to a residential street until it reaches Laguna Lake Park, at Hermosa Dr. and Lakeside Dr.
Laguna Lake is a wonderful spot for fishing, and bird watching, walking, and cycling along the south shore trail as it become the Bud Turner Trail on the otehr side of the lake, and heads past the Equestrian Center.
I saw some Hispanic men, some young, some old, alone, and in small groups, spread around the lake, fishing for Catfish, Bass, and Trout.
I saw a man waking with his 3 daughters age 3 to 10.
I saw couples, young, and old, walking around the lake, and bicyclists as well.
There are picnic tables around the lake, and restooms, and parking lot on the west end.
One of the fun things is the opportunity to get up close, and personal with the feathered residents of the lake.
Just don't feed the little darlings!
Mallard and Wood Ducks, and a couple of noisy Geese, all trying to ignore the 2-legged intruders into their paradise. ;-D
Cross the street south of the parking lot, and enter the the continuation of the Bud Trurner Trail as it climbs up along the side of the hillside, and becomes a narrow, winding adventure past the Equestrian Center, and its Horse Trail, set between you, and busy Euclid Ave.
Before you get to the wide part, within sight of Euclid, you must navigate the more rugged, narrow, path, a path that can become a muddy mess after a good rain, as I experienced a few years previous when I did a cycling story on this small stretch, for my bike blog.
Finally you arrive at Laguna Rd., and Euclid Ave., where the Horse Trail continues south along Euclid, but the trail you were on sees to not continue.
All is not lost, however!
Crossing Euclid, and walking about a block you find yourself at the entrance to the Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve, and just south of that, the narrow entrance to the Nora Kuttner Trail.
After a nice climb up the rugged trail, alert for any deliriously happy cyclist barrelling toward you on the downhill (I encountered 2!), you reach the top, and a choice.
On your left the trail continues a short distance to a street, on the left the Kuttner climbs higher still, along a rugged path, with the Preserve on your right the whole way.
As I pondered all ths wide open space 3 young teen ladies (13-15 yrs. old, I think) came upon the scene, on their bikes, and the "Charm of the Fireman Red Suspenders" worked its magic for the first of 2 times on my adventure this day. ;-D
I resolved to ask the young lasses if they knew where the trail led.
They stopped and, amid much giggling, they admitted to be as in the dark as me, and even more than a bit surprised that the trail was heading upward.
Give the gals some credit, though, because they hopped in the saddle and valiantly headed onward, and upward, for a short distance before realizing it was the better part of valor to walk their bikes to the top afterall. ;-D
Again I encountered a couple of cyclists on the downhill, and after reaching the top found the trail heading to the left, with the preserve still on your right.
There follows a steep downhill, along which I encountered a couple of cyclists huffing, and puffing up the narrow, rugged, trail (Ah, sweet revenge!), both of whom smiled when I told them of the good times that begin for them at the top. ;-D
Instead of continuing, right, along the trail next to Castlewood, your cross to continue south on Parks.
This leads, along a few blocks, to the small Coyote Trees Hill Park, and it is here I had my 2nd "Red Suspenders" moment. ;-D
There are 2 Trails here, one leading above, and away, from the park, and another leading downward into a tree filled little canyon.
As I stood there pondering which was the main Rosecrans Trail, and watching a half dozen cyclists go barreling over the downhill, 2 ladies, in their 20's I think, come walking out of the trail above the street.
Figuring they would know the answer to my question I approached them.
They explained to me that the downhill was what I wanted, and we had a nice chat about this blog, and where I had already walked from this day (A feat that they were mightily impressed with, I should add!), and one of them took the picture seen above, before I gave each of them my card, and we went our separate ways.
Heading down the trail you stay left, to Coyote Hills Dr., and staying left on the trail, and around a bend, you come to a short sidewalk, across from a Speed Limit sign, that leads south to Rosecrans Ave.
Turning right there is the regular sidewalk, with the dirt trail on its right, and another paved trail, inbetween.
Don't be a wussie, and walk the regular sidewalk, but choose the other one instead, as it's a bit more fun, and challenging. ;-D
From here you travel up hill on Rosecrans to Gilbert St., and Coyote Hills Park.
Continuing on Rosecrans you pass the entrance to the Castlewood Trail, and a Fire Station, and head past the massive Ralph B. Clark Regional Park (Lots of Hiking and Biking Trails!), in Buena Park, at the base of the Coyote Hills, and head on down the hill, past the entrance to Emery Ranch Trail, to Beach Blvd. where you can catch the OCTA Bus #29.
I had started at 1245pm, and by the time I reach the end of my adventure, just over 4 hours later, it was 5pm. ;-D