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Spotlight: O'neill Regional Park

February 06, 1988|Clipboard researched by Rick VanderKnyff, Susan Greene, Deborrah Wilkinson / Los Angeles Times

Address: 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon

Phone number: (714) 858-9365

Features: The park is available for day use and overnight camping. For horse enthusiasts, there is an arena, six miles of riding trails and an equestrian campground. Picnic areas include tables, barbecues, a large turf area, softball diamond, horseshoe pits and playgound equipment. Bicycles can be rented at park concession stand, which also offers food and camping supplies. Four large areas open to RV groups by reservation; other camping on both first-come-first-served and reservations basis. Interpretive programs covering history and natural history of park offered in spring and summer.

Description: O'Neill Regional Park encompasses 1,298 acres in Trabuco and Live Oak canyons. The park is heavily wooded with California live oak and sycamore trees, the hillsides covered with native buckwheat, sagebrush and chaparral vegetation. Trabuco and Hicky creeks flow through the park in winter and early spring, and are dry in summer and fall.

The park was included within the old Rancho Trabuco, eventually becoming part of the vast O'Neill Ranch. The O'Neills donated 278 acres of canyon bottomland to the county for park purposes in 1948, and an additional 120 acres in 1963. The county purchased 232 acres along the park's northern boundary in 1974 and another 30 acres for access onto the new property in 1975. In 1982, 935 acres in the Arroyo Trabuco were dedicated to the county by the Mission Viejo Company. The addition is being maintained as a wilderness preserve, which is currently closed because of a mountain lion risk.

Fees: Camping is $8.50 ($4.50 for handicapped persons and seniors), with a surchage of $1.50 for a second vehicle. No one under 18 is allowed in the camping area, because of the mountain lion risk.

Day use is $1.50 per vehicle. The equestrian fee is $2 per day per horse; there is a charge of $1 per day for bringing dogs into the park. Day use hours are 7 a.m. to sunset.

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