The following story was contributed by the County of Riverside Transportation Department
Beginning in the 1960s, developers constructed a wide earthen flood control channel along Salt Creek to carry stormwa-ter 16 miles from the City of Hemet westerly through the community of Winchester and through the City of Menifee, where the water would eventually flow into Lake Elsinore. The Riverside County Flood Control District (Flood Control) envisioned the facility as a balance of “Function, Environmental & Recreation” elements. As such, the County planned a regional recreational trail along the full length of the channel, and by the 1990s the Salt Creek Trail became one of five essential backbone trails identified in the circulation element of the County’s General Plan.
The 16-mile Salt Creek Trail will be an essential east-west trail for the western Riverside County trail system with accessibility to homes, schools, businesses, and planned linkages with smaller trails. Regional trails meet the goals of increasing active modes of transportation and decreasing bicycle and pedestrian fatalities, while providing an alternative to gasoline-powered vehicle trips, which is key
to achieving state and local air quality objectives.
The Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District (Park District), which oversees regional trails throughout Riverside County, applied for and received a $5 million grant from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program to construct the first 5 miles of the Salt Creek Trail.
In a three-department County partnership, Flood Control provided the property consisting of a dirt maintenance road along the north side of the channel, the Transportation Department is administering the funding pro-gram, design, and construction of the project, and the Park District will ultimately operate and maintain the regional trail.
This first phase of construction includes a 4-mile segment in the City of Menifee and a 1-mile segment in the City of Hemet. The trail generally consists of a 12-foot wide paved bike path with an adja-cent soft surface path, where space permits. Pedestrian-activated traffic signals will stop traffic so that trail users can safely cross ma-jor streets. At one location, the trail goes under the Interstate 15 bridge.
Members of the public can bike, walk, run, and ride their horses along the trail, and may be accompanied by pets on leashes. The trail is also designed to be accessible for persons with disabilities. Motorized vehicles, such as golf carts and motorcycles, are not per-mitted on the trail.