Spotting Birds and Wildlife at Santiago Oaks Park in Orange, CA
Can neighborhoods and natural parks coexist together in harmony? Well, a good example is the 430-acre Santiago Oaks Regional Park in Orange, where the housing tracts border the Santa Ana Riverbed corridor. With a dam, reservoir and creek nearby, the park is home to birds of prey, mountain lions, mule deer, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, and whip-tailed lizards. At the entrance is a grove of original Valencia orange trees, serving as a "last stand" of how Orange County looked before houses and freeways took over. Hike up the aptly named Rattlesnake Ridge for a birds-eye view of the county, and use your binoculars to find wildlife. Down below you'll see horseback riders and mountain bikers passing each other on the many backcountry trail systems. Spring brings blooming wildflowers and autumn adds fall colors to the cottonwoods and oaks.