The unincorporated community of Silverado is located in the south eastern area of Orange County near Lake Forest and Rancho Santa Margarita. Set in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains near the boundaries of Cleveland National Forest. The community is mostly undeveloped, with the exception of some residential areas and a few small businesses. The Silverado profile includes history and information for residential services, shopping, dining, and points of interest throughout the area.
|About Silverado||History||Things to Do|
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About Silverado Canyon
Located in eastern Orange County in the Santa Ana Mountains, Silverado is primarily wooded and rustic-style residential areas. It is lightly populated and situated primarily along the six-mile length of Silverado Canyon Road. Due to the location, much of the surrounding area is designated as nature preserves, wilderness parks, and regional park space. Black Star Canyon and Limestone Canyon Regional Park are two of the most popular destinations within Silverado.
The Silverado community hosts the Annual Silverado Country Fair, a tradition that pays homage to the old west. The day long event, usually in October, kicks off in the morning with a parade. People from all around can enjoy festivities throughout the day and music into the night. The event is family friendly with food, 1800’s activities, contests and games, arts and crafts, and more. You can find the center of the action near the Canyon Market or the Silverado Café.
With hills, trees and few traffic signals, it’s an area many turn to for a Sunday drive. Mountain and road bicyclists frequently ride on and off road too. Horseback riders too. Motorcycle riders enjoy touring through the gently winding roads and stopping at Cook’s Corner for food, drinks and live music.
Because of Silverado’s location, there are few businesses, but if you’re in the area and need a bite to eat the Silverado Café is the place to go for sandwiches, burgers, breakfast, or mexican food. The Canyon Market serves pizza and sandwiches on Saturday and breakfast and sandwiches on Sunday. Plus you can grab snacks, groceries, beer and wine, and even Adventure Passes in case you’re venturing out into Cleveland National Forest. For regular shopping and dining, you’ll have to visit larger nearby cities like Lake Forest and Rancho Santa Margarita.
Silverado Canyon also features St Michael’s Abbey, a $120 million 55-acre campus including a monastery, abbey church, convent, administration building and a cemetery with a chapel. The abbey is open to the public for Sunday mass, confessions, tours, summer camps retreats, and more.
Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park features wooded space and geological formations like majestic red rock cliffs. Wilderness access days allow hikers, bikers, and equestrians the opportunity to head into the backcountry on trail to explore these formations, search for fossils embedded in the cliffs, or venture out along the 7-mile out and back trail to Black Star Canyon Falls. Keep in mind that this difficult hike ventures through streambeds and rocky terrain with some boulder jumping require, and there is a significant presence of poison oak.
Limestone Canyon is home to the geological wonder, The Sinks. Sometimes call Southern California’s mini Grand Canyon. Viewing this natural sandstone formation is worth the trip. But to get there, you’ll have to start at the Augustine Staging Area and head out on an 8-mile out and back hike, bike ride, or by horseback, on one of the designated wilderness access days.
Irvine Lake, one of Orange County’s moist popular fishing holes is also here in Silverado. Right next door, you’ll find Oak Canyon Park. This is a popular site for many events and activities including Boy Scouting events, concerts, fairs, and festivals.
During the holidays the Christmas in the Canyons event at Downtown Silverado Canyon takes place where there are local artisans, live entertainment, photos with Santa, and hayrides.
Things To Do In Silverado Canyon
- Parks, Recreation & Historic Places
- Restaurants, Entertainment, Wineries
- Cook’s Corner
- Cowboy Canyon Winery
- Girracci Vineyards & Farms
- Silverado Cafe
- Silverado Fairgrounds & Community Center
- Oak Canyon Park regularly hosts concerts, motorcycle shows and more.
- Silverado Cars and Coffee (Last Sunday of every month from 9 am -12 pm)
- Silverado Chili Cook-Off & Cinco De May Festival
- Silverado Country Fair & Folk Festival
- Silverado Firefighter’s Easter Pancake Breakfast
- Silverado Summer Concert Series
- Includes Special Christmas Concert
- Volunteer Days at Big Oak Canyon (first Saturday of each month)
Silverado Real Estate & Living in Silverado
Silverado provides the opportunity of rustic living away from the hustle and bustle of the city while remaining close to everything. There is one small downtown with a market, post office and several restaurants. Many people own homes on an acre or two with most homes located off Silverado Canyon Rd, Modjeska Canyon Rd, Crystal Canyon Rd.
The newest community will be Adler at Saddle Crest (18302 Saddle Crest, Silverado Canyon, California 92676) off Santiago Canyon Rd near Cook’s Corner. Named for the horseback trails surrounding the hills and canyons there will be 38 large lot single-family homes with an average of 18,268 square feet.
The are two specific plans for building in Silverado, the Silverado/Modjeska specific plan and the Foothill/Trabuco specific plan. These plans define the types of homes that can be built in the canyon (rural in nature) and requires homeowners to set aside a certain amount of their property as natural open space. Live Oak Canyon and Trabuco Canyon Roads are important features of the Foothill-Trabuco Specific Plan area and both are designated County Scenic Highways.
Information & Services
- Fire Stations
- Police Services
- Post Office
- Library Of The Canyons
- Silverado Modjeska Recreation and Park District (SMRPD) – A program of recreation and activities for residents of the County’s canyon areas, which includes Silverado, Ladd, Black Star, Williams and Modjeska canyons.
Size: Approximately 66.4 Square Miles (6,500 acres)
Silverado Canyon History
Silverado was inhabited by the Juaneno or Acjachemen Native Americans until settlers began encroaching on the West. Silver was discovered here in 1877 sparking a boom with miners flocking to the area. The boom lasted only briefly, 1878 to 1881, but during it’s heyday, there were three hotels, three general stores, a school, seven saloons, and two blacksmiths.
Silver mines were established here, with one, the Blue Light Mine, becoming the biggest producer of silver. Mining continued at Blue Light of and on until the 1950s, not only for silver, but also zinc and other minerals. Remnants of the mine can still be spotted in Pine Canyon. Silverado was also a destination for timber harvesting and coal mining.
During the 1940s, Silverado was a hot springs vacation retreat area and home to artists, craftsman, and visitors coming in for a relaxing getaway.
The area has been damaged by multiple natural disasters including flooding from torrential rain in 1939 and 1969 when roads and bridges were heavily damaged and homes washed away. In 2007 and 2014, wildfires damaged the canyon.
When you visit Silverado, look for historical landmark 202 which reads, “Located in Canada de la Madera (Timber Canyon), Silverado was a mining boom town founded in 1878 when silver was discovered nearby. During the colorful life of the boom, 1878-1881, miners, flocking to the area, established a thriving community, served daily by stage from Los Angeles and Santa Ana“.
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Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.