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.
UPDATED 7/02/20: In an effort to minimize the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on park patrons, staff, and the Orange County community at large, and consistent with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Governor’s office, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA), OC Parks are operating in the following manner.
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.
OC Parks serves as the steward of 60,000 acres of County parks, beaches and open space. This stewardship involves the protection and preservation of sustainable, healthy habitat both for generations of future visitors and also the local wildlife that live in it.
The County’s regional and wilderness parks and open space offer hundreds of miles of existing trails for pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian uses. Building and use of unauthorized trails, however, remains an ongoing issue.
These unauthorized trails cut through preserved habitat and jeopardize public access, native habitat and wildlife. In many parks, OC Parks does not even have the discretion to allow or disregard unauthorized trails; it is bound by state and federal agencies to preserve the land.
Here are some of the top reasons to stay off unauthorized, unmarked trails.
The clocks spring forward early March 8, 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.
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
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