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Silverado Canyon, CA Homes for Sale

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Silverado Canyon is an unincorporated area of Orange County roughly defined as the inhabited areas around, and associated with, the canyon by the same name. Homes in the area offer views of all sorts of terrain — rolling hills, mountain, valley, city lights, fields and ranch land. Horse property is in abundance in Silverado Canyon and views of the Saddleback mountains are everywhere. And it’s all within minutes of the beach.

Geographically, the area lies just east of Lake Forest, Irvine, and North Tustin and consists of a series of canyons and creeks. Its namesake canyon is a half-mile-deep gorge in the Santa Ana mountains at the eastern edge of Orange County with Silverado Creek running down its middle. Silverado Creek, rises on the north slope of Modjeska Peak at the elevation of 3,980 feet and flows north and west, past the town of Silverado to join Santiago Creek at 942 feet after a journey of just under 5 miles. The main branch, Ladd Canyon, is just over 3 miles long. Its stream arises on the east flank of Pleasants Peak at about 3,590 feet and flows southwest into the main stem at about 1,178 feet near Silverado. The creeks are part of the Santa Ana River watershed. Hikers enjoy the trail/fire road that runs the entire length of the canyon.

The picturesque town of Silverado is situated where the canyon opens out into a valley and just before the U.S. Forest Service gate that enters the Cleveland National Forest. The town is mostly residential with a few stores for food, tack and supplies. The mountains are hard to miss — 5,498-foot Modjeska Peak, part of the Saddleback Mountains, rises to the south; 3,947-foot Bald Peak forms the head of the gorge to the east, and 3,800-foot Bedford Peak towers to the north.

Silverado Creek runs year round, reaching its peak flow in winter and early spring, while diminishing to a trickle most of the rest of the year. Most of its tributaries, including Ladd Canyon Creek, are also seasonal. Several trails run out of the canyon. The most popular is the Silverado Motorway, originally a fire road, that forms a single-track trail. The trail climbs out of the canyon to the northeast and eventually intersects the Main Divide Road, which runs along the canyon rim to the north and east. It is a hearty hike.

The town of Silverado was founded in 1878. Today it is an unincorporated community in Silverado Canyon. Much of the town sits on a former Mexican land grant: Rancho Lomas de Santiago, the majority of which is located within the boundaries of present-day Cleveland National Forest. The area was mined extensively for silver during the late 1800s. Remnants of these mining operations, such as the Blue Light Mine, can still be found scattered throughout the surrounding mountains. Timber was harvested for use by the railroad. Coal was mined in a nearby area known at the time as Carbondale. Ancient sea life fossils are found in the sandstone cliffs of the area. During Spanish rule, the canyon was visited by Spanish explorers and was known by the name Cañada de la Madera (Timber Canyon). A town in Spain by that same name bears a remarkable resemblance to California’s Silverado Canyon. The area enjoyed a renaissance in the 1940s as a hot springs vacation retreat, during which time hotels and restaurants prospered. A large number of weekend cabins were also built at that time. Home to a number of artists and craftsmen, the town now consists of a general store, a restaurant, a public library, an elementary school, a church, two fire stations, and a post office. It hosts the annual Silverado Country Fair, and an Easter breakfast. A local landmark near Silverado is the restaurant Cook’s Corner at the junctuion of Santiago Canyon and Live Oak Canyon roads.

Today new homes and developments on the western edge are providing a second renaissance. The largest proposed projects are by the Irvine Company, which plans to build two developments stretching along Santiago Canyon Road from Jamboree Road past Irvine Lake. The first, situated on both sides of the Foothill Toll Road (Route 241), will consist of 1,746 homes on 496 acres. The second, overlooking Irvine Lake, will add 2,400 more homes on 1,000 acres.

Most of the area known as Silverado Canyon lies within ZIP Code 92676.

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