Trabuco Canyon Travel Guide

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Our Lord's Candle atop Dreaded Hill

Joel Sax

Trabuco Canyon received its name when members of the 1769 Portola Expedition trekked through and lost a blunderbuss (Spanish:  trabuco).  The weapon was never found.

The traditional community spreads across three new towns:  Rancho Santa Margarita, Lake Forest, and Coto de Caza.

Two regional parks draw people to the area:  O'Neill and Whiting Ranch Wilderness.  Hikers should be aware that mountain lions roam the vicinity.

Cook's Corner, an infamous biker's bar, is the spiritual center of Trabuco Canyon, though that honor is shared by St. Michael's Abbey and the Ramakrishna Monastery.  Many residents of Trabuco Canyon prefer a hermitic existence:  gated communities, private drives, and, sometimes, shotguns prevent the curious from exploring the back trails.

Roads leading out of the canyon lead to interesting trailheads for locally famous scenic wonders such as Holy Jim Falls and Vulture Crags.

Favored activities in the area include hiking, horse-back riding, and mountain biking.

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