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Peters Canyon Regional Park
Peters Canyon is a fun, smaller park. The trails trace the perimeter of a reservoir and also travel down the canyon below the reservoir. All the trails are fairly easy with an occasional steep hill. One of the highlights of the park is a large eucalyptus grove at the end of the canyon. A single track trail twists through the grove. It's not long, but fun nonetheless.

Although the entire elevation gain is low you still need to keep in mind that the parking is at the top most section of the park. If you ride down the canyon, you will have to come back up.

Information, Rides and Parks:
Complete loop (figure eight) around parkRide, Intermediate, Loop, Off-road, Distance: 5.8 miles, Gain: 460 feet
Loop around the LakeRide, Easy, Loop, Off-road, Distance: 2.5 miles, Gain: 100 feet
The park is located near the intersection of Chapman, Jamboree and Santiago Canyon Roads in the city of Orange.

From the 5 freeway, take Jamboree north to Canyon View Ave. Make a left and the park entrance will be a few hundred feet on your left.

From the 55 freeway take Chapman east. You will travel up and over Orange hills. Eventually you will make a right onto Jamboree. A short distance later make a right onto Canyon View Ave. and then a left into the park.

Dirt parking area.
Open daily from 7:00am to Sunset.

$2.00, requires exact change

In the parking lot

Porta-Potties in the parking lot and at the end of the canyon

Canyon View Ave.
Orange, CA

(714) 973-6611

More Information:
Peters Canyon Regional Park offers a delightful blend of native vegetation and historic accommodation to human endeavour. The park encompasses 354 acres of coastal sage scrub, riparian, freshwater marsh and grassland habitats. The 55-acre Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir is home to many resident and migrating waterfowl. Willows, sycamores and black cottonwoods line the lake and Peters Canyon Creek which meanders through the canyon.

The park offers a variety of trails providing opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. The East Ridge View Trail provides a panoramic view of Peters Canyon and the surrounding area. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of Upper Peters Canyon reservoir while traversing the Lake View Trail. Peters Canyon Creek Nature Trail guides hikers through lush groves of willows and rare black cottonwoods supported by a running creek. Visitors will encounter the park's grassland, coastal sage scrub and riparian habitats as well as eucalyptus groves on the Lower Canyon Trail.

The wildlife population includes mule deer, bobcats, coyotes, opossums, raccoons and an occasional mountain lion. Many smaller amphibians, mammals and reptiles abound, attracted by the lure of Peters Canyon Reservoir and Creek. Cactus wrens, gnatcatchers and rufous-crowned sparrows may be found in the park's coastal sage scrub and grassland communities. The eucalyptus groves are home to Cooper's, red-tail and red-shouldered hawks that can be seen patrolling the skies for unwary prey.

Peters Canyon Regional Park was originally part of Rancho Lomas de Santiago. During those Spanish days, Peters Canyon was called Canon de las Ranas or "Canyon of the Frogs." This was attributed to the canyon's drainage into the Cienega de las Ranas or "Marsh of the Frogs," which is known today as Upper Newport Bay.

In 1897 the rancho was purchased by James Irvine, who leased out the canyon to several farmers. Beginning in 1891, and continuing after the Irvine purchase, James Peters, whom the canyon is named for, dry-farmed barley and beans in the upper part of the canyon. Peters built his home and planted a eucalyptus grove near Lower Peters Canyon Retarding Basin.

In 1899, sportsmen from Orange and Santa Ana introduced the game of golf to Orange County. A nine-hole course was laid out by the Santiago Golf Club. Greens were made of oil-soaked sand and fairways of native soil. A red clubhouse was built on the ridge that now extends into Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir. The conspicuous building was seen by those who crossed the canyon between the El Modena Grade and Irvine Regional Park, hence the name "Golf Canyon" came into use.

Two reservoirs were constructed by the Irvine Ranch. The Upper Peters Canyon Reservoir, was completed in 1931. The lower reservoir was constructed in 1940. Both basins were used to regulate the Irvine Company's draft from Santiago Reservoir, as well as conservation of runoff from Peters Canyon watershed. Today the lower reservoir is dry and serves as a flood control basin.

During World War II, Peters Canyon was used as a training area for the U.S. Army. "Camp Commander," as it was known, was established in the eucalyptus groves near Little Peters Lake, or what is known today as Lower Peters Canyon Retarding Basin. Mock battles were staged between Camp Commander and "Camp Rathke," an Army post two miles away in Irvine Regional Park.

On March 3, 1992, the Irvine Company donated 354 acres of Peters Canyon to the County of Orange to be preserved as open space.

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Peters Canyon Regional Park™
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Copyright © 1997-2005 Winter Ware. All RIGHTS RESERVED.
Last updated: Friday, January 14, 2005