6 Secret Wild Places of Orange County's Canyons
1. Rancho Las Lomas
Rancho Las Lomas
Enjoy visiting for 1/2 a day at Rancho Las Lomas. They have a Wine Tasting Room, gardens and of course many different types of wild animals including Siberian Tigers, emus, zebras, llamas, and exotic birds! There is an ongoing Groupon for wine-tasting and tour.
Rancho Las Lomas Groupon
- Wine Tasting for Two or Four - Rancho Las Lomas | Groupon
Wine Tasting for Two or Four at Rancho Las Lomas (Up to 51% Off)
2. Haunted Hills of Black Star Canyon, Silverado Canyon
Black Star Canyon was first inhabited by the Tongva-Gabrieliño Native American tribes. Explore stone grinding tools and other artifacts used by these people of antiquity. In the days of the Wild West era, these people were killed in mass for stealing horses of ranchers nearby. There are guided tours of this and two other canyon areas (Mesa and Baker) in the link below. Baker is noted for its varied native wild bird habitat.
Hiking with OC Parks....
- Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park - Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks
Visitors to Black Star Canyon are awed by soaring red rock cliffs, views of Irvine Lake, sage scrub and many rare species of plants and animals. Learn more!
3. Cook's Corner - This Biker Hangout Is a Mini Sturgis on the Weekends!
Cool biker atmosphere is a who's who in the biker world. Live rock bands almost every night. A different type of wild life, and not something you see anywhere else...except Sturgis, of course. Here is a link for upcoming events!
Cook's Corner website
Cook's Scene on any Sunday (or Saturday)
Cook's Corner Nightlife
4. The Wild Culture of Silverado Canyon
Each canyon community has it's own flavor. Trabuco Canyon leans more of the Disneylandish kind of wild with theme type restaurants and amusement. Modjeska Canyon is noted for its wildlife and nature conservancy (Tucker Wildlife and Modjeska House). Which brings us to Silverado Canyon. Silverado is like a 1/2 step back to the Wild West culture. People there are more independent thinkers, the rugged individualistic culture of Orange County. No other canyon is more isolated from suburbia than Silverado. In it, you won't find any chain restaurant, grocery store, or anything to do with Wall Street. It is a "one off" place. You just got to go there to see it, embrace it, and find out what it is like. A good place to start is the Silverado Cafe. From there go further in the canyon to the "Narrows" which give an Old West feel to the place. Silverado was settled as a mining community for silver ore. It is NOT a ghost town, it is very much alive and a good representative of what the Old West would have evolved into without Wall Street.
5. Modjeska Canyon
As mentioned before, Modjeska Canyon is a small community dedicated to wildlife preservation. This is a unique community for taking a naturalist approach to life. To their credit, they have "Tucker Wildlife Conservatory" and "Modjeska House" which are free tours. I am including links below for these places.
Tucker Wildlife Conservancy is a self guided pathed tour of various animals found in the canyons and include kiosks about them at various stops. Animals on exhibit are turtles, small wildlife birds, fish, etc. All set in their natural environment they might be found in the wild.
"Modjeska House" is a founding lady of Modjeska canyon who was an actress at the turn of the 20th century. "Arden" is the name she gave her compound where her house (restored in it's original state) resides.
Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary
Madame Modjeska in front of her "Arden"
6. Trabuco Canyon
Of all the canyon communities, this place is the most animal oriented. Horses, peacocks, goats, llamas, etc.
They also have several restaurants that revolve around a theme: Trabuco Steakhouse is a laid back bar/restaurant that will cut your tie off if you dare wear one inside their doors. Rose Canyon Cantina is a Mexican restaurant/bar has creekside patio seating (creek is seasonal). Cook's Corner (mentioned above), and Rancho Las Lomas (also mentioned above) are located within this canyon area.
If you are looking for a place to stay the night, I recommend an Airbnb hostel within walking or short drive distance to these restaurants. It has access to private trails and has beautiful white peacocks on the premises. If a sidecar motorcycle ride is on your bucket list, they would be happy to help you tour the canyons (for a small fee per person). Their link is below.
Trabuco Canyon Airbnb
- Entire Tiny Peacock Guesthouse-Meadow Views -PROMO - Guest suites for Rent in Trabuco Canyon, Califo
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