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.
Between June 18 to June 24 and July 5 to July 12, the Nature Communities Coalition (NCC), in collaboration with OC Parks, Irvine Ranch Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy will conduct an aerial weed survey during daylight hours using a small, low-flying helicopter to document and map the distribution of over 30 weed species located within selected inland parks and open space areas.
Whiting Ranch, Irvine, Santiago Oaks, Irvine Ranch Open Space and Peters Canyon will be included in the survey.
The resulting information will provide details about the abundance and distribution of invasive weeds and help land managers evaluate the effectiveness of current weed monitoring practices, identify emerging weed problems, and strategically plan future weed management actions.
Starting Sunday, March 13, the spring-summer hours for regional parks are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. That includes Carbon Canyon, Clark, Craig, Laguna Niguel, Mason, Mile Square and Yorba regional parks. Irvine Regional Park opens at 6 a.m. and will close at 9 p.m. Wilderness parks are open at 7 a.m. and close at sunset year round.
The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) is an invasive beetle that attacks common native and landscape trees, leading to branch dieback and overall decline. This can have a devastating effect on local trees, and you may see some being treated or removed in County parks.
Gold Spotted Oak Borer (GSOB), an invasive beetle that has killed thousands of oak trees in San Diego and Riverside counties in a short span of time, has now been detected in Orange County. The GSOB was discovered in approximately 60 trees on County park land in northern Orange County. Since GSOB is transported in oak firewood, it is critical that Californians keep firewood local and not move it out of the area.
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