O'Neil Park (Santiago Peak, Orange, California)

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Place Description (edit it)

O'Neill Regional Park is situated in beautiful Trabuco and Live Oak Canyons. The park is heavily wooded with coast live oak and sycamore trees. The hillsides surrounding the park are filled with cactus, wild buckwheat, sagebrush and chaparral of scrub oak, buckthorn and mountain mahogany. Trabuco and Hicky Creeks also meander through the park, flowing in winter and early spring, dry in summer and fall.

General Information:

  • Address: O'Neill Regional Park, 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
  • Phones: (949) 923-2260 or (949) 923-2256
  • Day-use Fee: $5

Day Use Areas

O'Neill Park offers several day use areas:

  • The Oak Grove is ideal for daytime activities. It offers plenty of shade, a turf area, and a playground for kids.
  • The cool and relaxing Featherly Area stretches along Trabuco Creek, a seasonal waterway that flows from Santiago and Modjeska peaks, to the Pacific Ocean.
  • The mile-long Mesa Area includes viewpoints of rustic Trabuco Canyon.
  • The Eagle Grove day-use and Vedanta Wilderness areas present a great source of scenic trails.

Each area includes picnic tables, barbecues, water, and restrooms. Picnic tables are shaded either by trees or by wood/concrete gazebos that make them very useful even at hot summer time.

Wood collecting is prohibited inside the park, bring your own. Typically at fall and late summer all open fires except gas stoves are not allowed due to fire danger. Call park rangers ahead if unsure.

Entrance fee for the day use areas of the park is currently $5 (last verified 11/25/2006).

Trails

The O'Neill Park is also a convenient starting point for several multi-use (hiking, mountain-biking and horse-riding) and hiking-only trails:

  • Arroyo Trabuco Trail
  • Coyote Trail
  • Edna Spaulding Trail - an easy loop trail with a view of O'Neill park and surrounding neighbourhoods
  • Hoffman Homestead Trail
  • Live Oak Trail
  • Pawfoot Trail
  • Racoon Trail
  • Vista Trail

Park History

(this information is according to to the park booklet)

O'Neill Park is part of the old Rancho Trabuco. The name Trabuco came about during a spanish expedition in 1769. On July 23-rd of that year, Gaspar de Portola led an expedition into what is now Orange County. The expedition camped a few miles east of the San Juan Capistrano area. On July 24-th, while the Portola group camped, one of the soldiers lost his "trabuco", or musket. To mark this loss, the stream was named Trabuco. The name has been associated with the canyon and adjacent mesa since then.

Mexican Governor Alvarado granted two square leagues to Santiago Arguello in 1841. Arguello sold these lands to Juan Forester in 1843. Forester received an additional grant of three square leagues in 1846. F.L.S.Pioche purchased the Rancho from Foresterin about 1880. Through the years various county pioneers held the title. The Rancho Trabuco eventually became the property of James L. Flood and Richard O'Neill Sr. The two were owners of Forester's other rancho -- Santa Margarita y las Flores. With their purchase, the two ranchos became the O'Neill Ranch.

In 1948, the O'Neill family donated 278 acres of Trabuco Canyon to the County of Orange for use as a regional park. Throughout the years the family donated additional acreage. The Ramakrishna Monastery, wishing to preserve native habitat, also gave property to the park. The Rancho Mission Viejo Company dedicated 935 acres, known as the Arroyo Trabuco, in 1982 and 735 acres, known as Tijerias Canyon, in 1996.

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