The 1,269-acre Santiago Oaks Regional Park in east Orange is a peaceful refuge along Santiago Creek. Hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians can enjoy the surrounding area’s picturesque beauty, which includes mountain vistas, an orange grove, a winding creek, and a deep forest packed with a broad variety of tree species, all in a calm setting. There is a diverse wildlife population, and a network of trails will take you through green forests to a spectacular view of Orange and the nearby foothills.
On March 11th, 2007, a brush fire broke out near the Windy Ridge Toll Plaza on the 241 Toll Road. The fire scorched 2,036 acres and spread southwest, propelled by strong winds and dry vegetation.
OC Waste & Recycling undertook a park restoration project in March 2011 that also served as a mitigation step by planting over 200 new coastal live oaks across the park.
You’ll feel like you’ve left the city when you visit Santiago Oaks Regional Park. Because of the native plant life and the specimen forest, nature lovers will find peace and quiet in the Rinker area. The park has a network of routes that horseback riders, hikers, and mountain bikers can utilize. The park’s trails provide stunning views of northern Orange County and connect to the Anaheim Hills Trail System.
Since its inception in the summer of 1981, visitors to the nature center have been able to explore exhibits and engage in educational programs covering a wide range of natural world topics. Hikes led by rangers, slide exhibits, and videos are just a few of the interpretive possibilities available to guests. There is a nominal cost for the group sessions, and booking requires two weeks notice. Weekend public nature activities are provided depending on staff and volunteer availability. Inquire at the park office or visit the website for information on programs and events.
Where to Find Parking at Orange’s Santiago Oaks Regional Park: If you’re going from the Irvine Regional Park direction, take Jamboree up and turn LEFT into Santiago Canyon Road (this turn is the last turn you can make before heading into Irvine Regional Park). If you take a wrong turn onto Santiago Canyon, you’ll miss Santiago Oaks. You will immediately reach a T-intersection after turning onto Windes from Santiago Canyon Road. The parking lot will be on your right once you take the first right. There is a fee to enter this regional park because it is operated by OCParks.com.
Next Point of Interest: Santa Ana Canyon