Bastanchury Park

Widest place for the creek as it enters Bastanchury Park. The size of the creek is not necessarily an indication of how much water flows. This stream has its origins at Laguna Lake.

The trails within Bastanchury Park are concrete sidewalks and perfectly smooth decomposed granite. There is of course picnic tables, restrooms and ball diamonds. The long trail that is associated with this park is actually on private property. It is because of that, this is an unofficial trail and that is why there is no access to the trail from the park. It is an abandoned line but the land around it, is still owned by Union Pacific. This line used to service the Hunts tomato sauce factory; its only customer. Oil came from Los Angeles on this line as recently as the 1980s.
This trail and adjacent track follows Bastanchury Road for a while then separates going north for a mile or two. Then past Lambert where it curves left around Home Depot on Harbor in La Habra. It goes west after that into Los Angeles. If Rails to Trail comes to Fullerton, the trail would stop about Imperial. It is well used by Union Pacific after that. If it is converted to a trail the Parks Department would certainly make it more convenient to get to the trail from Bastanchury Park. So, as of 2018, you just use Bastanchury Park to park your car then leave the park to get at the trail as described above.

Note how Bastanchury Park gets narrower and narrower. The dense green line north of the park is a tree nursery. The abandoned Union Pacific rail line (the trail you walk) is on the left of the park. On the right is Bastanchury Blvd, but in 1925 that was a Santa Fe spur that went up to about a block this side of St Jude Hospital where there were loading docks for the world’s largest citrus farm; Bastanchury Ranch. Union Pacific and Pacific Electric had docs there too.

The parking is great and being on Bastanchury near Malvern it is very easy to get to. Hours of this park for parking here 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM.
The trail north along side the Union Pacific begins at Malvern, but you can more conveniently join it just past the north ball diamond. You can walk behind the third base line and then climb the embankment to Hughes Drive. The trail for most of the distance is right next to the tracks, but here when you cross Hughes Drive near the tracks you can see that the nicer trail is below the tracks some 50 feet away. Click here to see how two trails divide. It doesn’t come back next to the tracks for about a mile, a mile which is a wonderful tree lined experience. What you will be walking through is a tree nursery. After the pastoral experience of so much greenery there’s a walk that follows Bastanchury. (An interesting note about Bastanchury Blvd is that it used to be a Santa Fe spur that went almost to Harbor to a loading dock for Bastanchury citrus. Bastanchury Ranch was the biggest citrus farm in the world about 1925.) About a mile later it passes underneath the Juanita Cooke Trail and for the adventuresome past the golf course and clear to Imperial and beyond.

There is an alternate way from where you parked to the trail. It makes your journey a little longer. Walk out the main gate of the park and walk on the decomposed granite sidewalk south all the way to the tracks. Walk a little farther to a similar decomposed granite sidewalk going north. This trail is on the west side of the tracks, but it is only until you get to Hughes Drive. (A quarter of a mile.) It then drops back down 50 feet below the tracks, as mentioned above. This makes your journey a little longer, but you also get to see the potential of Bastanchury Park once the Trails to Rails program takes hold. The park would be 45 yards wider.

Notice how the trees in the nursery have grown out of their pots. This part of the tree nursery has been abandoned to the county for maintenance. The difference between county maintained trail and a Fullerton maintained trail is that the county only comes when they are called. That’s why this part of the trail is littered with the detritus of the homeless.

Short Walk (out and back 1.2 mi)
The most worthwhile part of the walk out of Bastanchury Park is immediately out of the park across Hughes Drive. It is the shadiest in all of Fullerton. You need to walk up a short hill out of the park to the tracks, and then drop down to the very well warn path about 50 feet below the tracks. Bikes prefer the harder ground next to the tracks, but by far the more pleasant walking journey is the lower trail through Senna Tree Company Fullerton Nursery. It is left over from the housing developer that planted trees in the housing track which used to be Raytheon.

Like the trail along the tracks, we really shouldn’t be there. But it is expensive to fence, and so there’s nothing they can do to keep people out. Ambiguity in stewardship is quite common with trails. At least for users. We can’t tell who to blame or praise. Parks departments know exactly what they are to maintain, but there’s no reason to let us know where they quit and where volunteers are the only thing that keeps places clean. Click here for more on–> trail philosophy.

Bastanchury Park to Euclid (out and back 2.2 mi). Note that the loveliest part of this journey is at the beginning and at the very end.

Slightly Longer Journey from Bastanchury Park (out and back 2.7 mi)
The short walk leaving Bastanchury Park mentioned above, is by far the most pleasant. But for more exercise you can walk alongside the track to Euclid. That’s 2.2 miles out and back. Just passed the tree nursery between you and Bastanchury is the agricultural teaching farm of Sunny Hills High School. And beyond Parks Road is more of the Senna Tree Company Nursery. This part of their nursery is nowhere near as pleasant a walk. If instead of turning around at Euclid, if you cross Euclid and continue past the animal hospital to the horse stables that is a treat to watch. There’s always something going on. Usually the horses just take turns exercising in the arena.

Continuing on To Laguna Road (out and back 4 mi)
Beyond the horses near Euclid and Bastanchury is a rather unpleasant part of the trail because it is so close to Bastanchury. A half mile beyond Euclid the trail follows the tracks to the left separating from Bastanchury which curves to the right. The trail to the left is surprisingly secluded. It comes back into civilization at Laguna Road. Out and back to that point is 4 miles.

Loop (4.4 mi)
Starting at Bastanchury Park following the trail alongside the tracks as it curves to run north you will come to a street. It is Laguna Road. From Laguna Road you can take a different trail back to make a kind of loop that is only a bit farther than the out and back walk. Instead turning around at Laguna Road and walking back, walk up the street a short ways to Morelia. Walk south and cross Bastanchury at the long-to-wait-for signal light. Right there is the rather expensive climb to the Juanita Cooke. About a hundred feet in, go through the opening in the fence on the right; that’s Horse Alley (<–it is described in more detail there). Take Horse Alley clear down to Euclid. Cross Bastanchury and you will recognize the train tracks back to Bastanchury Park.

The bridge south of Bastanchury Park carries the abandoned line to the main line near Commonwealth and Pooch Park.

Tracks South of Malvern
The elephant in the room is the Union Pacific. It is there at every foot fall once out of Bastanchury Park. It’s pretty definitely abandoned because street crossing signals have been turned around from here to where the line curves around the Home Depot on Harbor and Lambert. That is potentially another Juanita Cooke; a longer version even. Beyond Home Depot the line is heavily used by Union Pacific. But at this end where does it go? How far is it abandoned south of Malvern? The picture to the right shows a wooden trestle bridge over Brea Creek. There’s fences everywhere but the walk way along this bridge is not blocked. ?!? And its fairly new. (There must be an interesting story about that.) If one follows it across the bridge the path gets narrower and narrower until you have to climb down the side. As you can see in the above photo the track is on a large berm that fills a large right-of-way (for a half a mile). Alas this property is unavailable for any commercial use of it being filled with so much dirt. The track merges with the mainline quite near the bridge over Commonwealth. (The one near Pooch Park, and the old west branch library.)

The map of the rail lines through Fullerton shows this line was put in, in 1923. This is confirmed by the date 1922 stamped on the rails you walk next to.

If it is abandoned to the point of turning the crossing signals around, then why can’t they take their rails and rocks and go home? We should be grateful though for the Union Pacific preserving this line for us. And someday they will be tired of paying the taxes on that property and want to give it to the city. (Like what Pacific Electric did to allow the Juanita Cooke Trail in 1962. But that was before the EPA.) The problem one of our councilmen pointed out is that Union Pacific is  the deep pockets in case the EPA gets anal retentive. It is a problem for most abandoned properties where even a single drop of oil is suspected to have fallen to the days of the dinosaurs. Million dollar studies would be required of Union Pacific to inspect the ground. And on the likely occurrence that oil drops were found  there’s the cost of digging up all that rock and the dirt underneath it and sending it in a spiral orbit into the sun. All that can be avoided by just doing nothing. It is cheaper for the Union Pacific to keep paying taxes on the property. That is why you are walking on rocks; it is to keep anal retentives away.

Click on a picture to see it full screen.

Questions for Parks Department:

  • That vast unused area west of the park, is the railroad’s. Is that area open for suggestions in how it will be used?
  • What needs to be done to make progress on rails to trails for this abandoned Union Pacific line?