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Directions to Park

The entrance to the park is just off Santiago Canyon Road on Windes Drive in Orange.

By expanding the Google Trail map on the right you can easily ascertain the best way depending on your location.

Parking
The parking fee is $3.   There is ample parking inside the park.

Park Hours
7:00 am to sunset.

Dogs
Dogs are allowed in the park.

Facilities
There are 2 restrooms; both located near the park entrance.  See map on right.

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Santiago Oaks Regional Park

Santiago Oaks Regional Park is a relatively small park with a surprising abundance of trails.  In addition, many of the trails connect to trails outside of the park boundaries creating even more running, mountain biking or hiking opportunities. Robbers Peak In fact, if there is a downside to the park, it's the difficulty navigating your way around.  The trails are well marked but there are no maps, within the park which indicate where the trails go.  Even the map provided by the park (see below) is lacking, especially if you want to venture up to Robbers Peak which is not even shown on the park map.

The highlight of the park is most certainly Robbers Peak (see photo), though technically it is outside the park boundaries for some reason.  The historic dam is not much more than crumbling concrete and has been replaced by the newer Villa Park Dam, which is not much to look at either.

The park is nestled among residential neighborhoods and accordingly, most views are more likely to include homes versus wilderness.

From a running, mountain biking, hiking perspective there are lots of options here.  This park, very close to residential areas, can be crowded with runners and bikers.  There are wide open fire-roads and quad-burning single tracks.  There is very little in the way of flat trails except those along the Santiago Creek.  The surrounding neighborhoods provide multiple points of entry.

The following map, with trail distances, is provided by OC Parks:
Map
Click here to view/download larger map.
 

I've noted one trail which loops around and takes in Robbers Peak:

Trail Info...
Trail Name Distance Elevation Gain Difficulty
Robbers Peak Loop 4.0 miles 720' Moderate/Strenuous

Trails and Map


Robbers Peak Loop (4.0 miles)
--  There are a number of ways to reach the top of Robbers Peak, but for our purposes we're going to view the old Damhistoric dam and then make our way up the challenging Hawk Trail.  Starting at east end of the parking lot make your way to the Historic Dam Trail.  It won't take long to reach the historic dam (less than 0.3 miles).  The dam is really not much more than a large slab of concrete, overgrown vegetation, and a small pool of idle water.  Hardly worth the effort.  At this point Hawk Trail Aheadcross the creek and make your way up the stairs (yep...stairs) and turn right on Santiago Creek Trail.  In a few hundred feet stay right on Pony Trail and head in the direction of the new Villa Park Dam.  In half a mile you'll reach the dam which isn't all the exciting either.  Cross the dry Santiago Creek and make your way to Bobcat Trail; stay right until you reach Hawk TrailValley BelowThis is where the fun begins.  Up until this point (1.1 miles) the trails have been flat and easy going.  That'll all change.  Hawk Trail is single-track, rocky, and steep.  On the plus side the ascent to the top is only 0.4 mile.  At the top of Hawk you'll get a nice view of the damn and the valley below.  You'll also get your first glimpse of Robbers Peak which is less than a mile away.  A bunch of trails converge near the top of Hawk including Grasshopper, Robbers PeakBumblebee, and Oak.  To get to Robbers Peak we head north along Oak Trail. This trail and the Edison Trail it turns into is standard utility/fire-road; it's wide-open with only a modest climb.  Robbers Peak beckons.  Just before you get to Robbers Peak there's a very short trail, Robbers Roost Trail, that takes you the top.  The views are nice from the top but to the north and west you're practicallybikers in someone's back yard; I guess they call that urban encroachment.  Oh well, time to head back down.  We'll follow the trail we just took heading in the direction of Hawk Trail.  However, instead of going down Hawk we'll elect to stay on Oak Trail, a much more easy-going trail than Hawk.  It's a good thing this trail is standard fire-road because you'll likely encounter a lot of bikers heading up.  When you get to the bottom of Oak Trail, make your way over to Santiago Creek Trail which will take you back to the parking lot. For a pictorial presentation of this course click here.
 
Running
There are so many options here and there are multiple places of entry.  This park butts Runnerup to many residential areas in all directions except east.  For those looking for fairly flat runs those trails are mostly along the canyon floor and parallel the Santiago Creek.  It's pretty easy to create a relatively flat 2+ mile loop by taking advantage of the half dozen trails in this area of the park.  For those seeking hills there are just as many options with Oak Trail being the most common.  Because of the extensive trail network you can create loops from 2 miles to however many miles you can handle.  For example, Santiago Creek Trail extends southeast towards Irvine Regional Park which is 1.4 miles from the Villa Park Dam.

Biking
Just as with runners, mountain bikers have a billion options here.  There are so many trails coupled with trails in adjoining areas you could easily spend allbiker day zigzagging about.  In fact there are so many options ... every rider, regardless of skill level, will have a blast. There are easy trails and there are moderate climbs that will still leave you with some gas in the tank when you reach the top.  And not to worry, there are ball-busting climbs for even the fittest of souls and descents which should scare the crap out of you.  There are multiple points of entry and I suspect very few riders even park in the park.

Hiking
This park is better suited to fitness hikers versus those looking for peace and solitude.  The park is more urban than most; residential neighborhoods surround the park and are clearly visible.  Most of the trails, with the exception of those near the park entrance, are in the open and offer little in the way of shade.  Finally, the park is really popular with mountain bikers so you'll need to stay alert.  But if a fitness walk/hike is your thing, you'll enjoy the hills and various trail options this park has to offer.

Photo Gallery
Robbers Peak Loop...
Click on the lower portion of the photo to start slideshow

More Info
For additional information...
OC Parks - Santiago Oaks Regional Park

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