From where I’m standing, I can see for miles.The tops of buildings stick out of the inland ooze to form a crooked pathway deep into the valley. And just below the horizon, the sun’s rays glint and shimmer off the Pacific Ocean.
Few sights are as beautiful, or as rare. What with the rain and wind of recent El Nino-generated storms, however, there has been ample opportunity to see Orange County clearly, and one of the best places to do so is Santiago Oaks Regional Park in Orange.
For a $2 parking charge, you can spend the day hiking and exploring a tangled web of trails, from steep hill climbs to easy walks alongside historic dams. But no matter what trail you take or how far you go on it, there’s plenty to see and appreciate. Here is a small example of the inspiring natural beauty of Orange County carefully nurtured in a park where we can reach out and touch it, look at it and marvel over it.
I can see Catalina from the peak of a hill in Orange.
And that’s the point behind Santiago Oaks: a place people can go to appreciate, and maybe learn about, our natural environment. At the center of the park sits The Oak Canyon Nature Center, with 60 acres and six miles of hiking trails reserved for the study and preservation of live animals and native plant life. You can grab a brochure (be sure to put it back at the end of the trail) and follow your own curiosity, or arrange for a Ranger-led group.
From where I’m standing, I can see for miles.
For the more adventurous, there are numerous trails spread out over 350 acres, all of which allow hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers plenty of room to roam and discover.
The trail I liked best was the one where I could see the most. That was at the end of the nature trail, a moderately difficult hike that starts at the base of the picnic area and ends at the top of a windswept hill.