The Pacific Electric Inland Empire Trail

The Vision

The Pacific Electric Trail corridor is an opportunity that comes rarely to a region or city. Imagine being able to walk, jog or ride a bicycle or a horse from the Los Angeles County Line at Claremont to Rialto along a 21 mile path. Over the past few years, this dream has become a reality. The City of Rancho Cucamonga, acting as the lead agency, has joined together with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) and surrounding cities to develop a multi-purpose trail that links the cities of Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana and Rialto.

The purpose of the trail is multifold. The Pacific Electric Trail provides recreational opportunities for cyclists, pedestrians, runners and equestrians. In support of Rancho Cucamonga’s Healthy RC commitment, trail users enjoy exercise, convenient access to jobs, public facilities and shopping, while traveling through eucalyptus windrows with scenic views of the valley. The San Bernardino Associated Governments, the City of Rancho Cucamonga and the participating cities have exercised great vision to designate this corridor for trail use. This vision has allowed the cities to create a beautiful common area that can be shared by commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians, and other non-motorized transportation.

History

The Pacific Electric Trail follows the route of the legendary Pacific Electric Railway, an electrified railway system famous for their "Red Cars" that spanned from the Pacific coast through Los Angeles, and traveled as far east as San Bernardino. The building of the railway through the Inland Empire was crucial to the development of the area, particularly to support the agricultural industry that fueled the local economy. The San Bernardino portion of the railway was used extensively in transporting products from the citrus and wine making areas of Cucamonga and Redlands to Los Angeles and the rest of the United States. In later years, the railway was used for moving war time materials and troops to the ports of Los Angeles. Once the world’s largest interurban and street railway system, the Pacific Electric Railway ended operation during the 1950’s with the expansion of the Southern California freeway system. One of the last remaining railway depots of the San Bernardino line can be found in Rancho Cucamonga at the intersection of Etiwanda Ave. and the Pacific Electric trail. 

Photography by Ofelia Morales