Lying peacefully in east Orange alongside the Santiago Creek, the 1,269-acre Santiago Oaks Regional park is a nature lover's paradise. This secluded refuge offers hikers, bikers and equestrians the natural charm of mountain vistas, an orange grove, a meandering creek and a mature forest of many different species of trees. Wildlife abounds and a series of interconnecting trails leads through shady groves and to a lookout that features an awe-inspiring view of Orange and the surrounding foothills.
On March 11, 2007, a vegetation fire started near the Windy Ridge Toll Plaza of the 241 Toll Road. Fueled by heavy winds and dry vegetation, the fire spread in a southwesterly direction, burning 2,036 acres.
Starting in March of 2011, nearly 200 new coastal live oaks were planted at the park in a park restoration project that is also a mitigation measure being fulfilled by OC Waste & Recycling.
Santiago Oaks Regional Park provides the visitor with a sense of removal from the urbanized environment. The native plant life coupled with the specimen forest in the Rinker area provide an atmosphere of relaxation and serenity. The park has a series of interconnecting trails suitable for equestrians, hikers and mountain bikes. The park trails also provide access to the Anaheim Hills Trail System and offer spectacular views of northern Orange County.
The nature center, which opened in the summer of 1981, offers exhibits and programs on various natural history topics. Park Rangers provide a variety of interpretive activities including nature walks, slide programs and films. Group programs are provided for a nominal fee and must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. Nature programs for the general public are conducted on weekends dependent upon staff and volunteer availability. Contact the park office for more information or click the link for Events and Programs.
For the past 20 years, Orange County Codified Ordinance OCCO 2-5-29(n) prohibited the use of all motorized conveyances, including electric bicycles (eBikes) on all County bikeways and trails.
On July 17, 2018, the Board of Supervisors passed a revision to the ordinance, making the following exception: “Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles, as defined by the California Vehicle Code, on those regional paved, off-road bikeways designated for such use by the Director of OC Parks.”
Currently, this means that Class 1 and 2 eBikes are now permitted on more than 75 miles of paved Orange County regional bikeways. Due to safety concerns, all classes of eBikes continue to be prohibited on unpaved trails within regional and wilderness parks.
Wildflowers are now blooming in OC Parks. Please follow all park rules while you enjoy the flowers. Make sure to stay on marked trails and do not pick the flowers. Click the link for a video about wildflower viewing.
Spring is here, and that means longer hours, warmer temperatures and more people – and wildlife – out in the parks.
Parks open later: Spring-summer hours, during Daylight Saving Time, mean parks close at 9 p.m. or sunset.
Wildlife sightings: Park rangers have reported increased sightings of snakes, including rattlesnakes. Be sure to keep yourself – and your dog, where permitted – on the trail and aware of your surroundings to avoid an encounter. Also watch out for ticks clinging to long brush and grasses.
Wildflowers: Take all the photos you want from the trail, but never pick wildflowers – leave them for others to enjoy and to spread their seeds for next season.
Warmer temperatures: While it’s always important to be prepared, warmer weather makes essentials like water and sunscreen even more important.
The clocks spring forward early March 10, marking the beginning of daylight-saving time and OC Parks’ spring-summer operating schedule. Most regional parks will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wilderness parks and selected regional parks are open at 7 a.m. and close at sunset year round.
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