Trabuco Canyon, California

Trabuco Canyon (Trabuco, Spanish for "Blunderbuss") is a small unincorporated community located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains in eastern Orange County, California, and lies partly within the Cleveland National Forest.

Trabuco Canyon, California
The "Wash" at Trabuco Canyon.
The "Wash" at Trabuco Canyon.
Coordinates: 33°39′45″N 117°35′25″W / 33.66250°N 117.59028°W / 33.66250; -117.59028Coordinates: 33°39′45″N 117°35′25″W / 33.66250°N 117.59028°W / 33.66250; -117.59028
CountryUnited States
430 - 1,640 ft (−70 m)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code949

Trabuco Canyon is north of the town of Rancho Santa Margarita. Plano Trabuco Road leads from the top of the canyon south to Rancho Santa Margarita.


Trabuco is Spanish for blunderbuss, a type of shotgun. Some credit a Franciscan friar traveling with the Gaspar de Portolá Expedition in 1769 with the story that a blunderbuss was lost in the canyon, after which the area was named. A mission was originally to be built in the canyon, but was instead established in San Juan Capistrano.[1]

The Trabuco Adobe was built in 1810 next to the Acjachemen village of Alume that was also identified during the 1769 Portolá expedition, where Juan Crespí wrote, "we made camp close to a village of the most tractable and friendly heathens we have seen upon the whole way."[2]

John (Don Juan) Forster received a Mexican land grant in 1846 and established Rancho Trabuco.[3] The grant was bordered by Rancho Cañada de los Alisos on the west, and by Rancho Mission Viejo on the east.[4]

Trabuco Canyon was the site of attempts to mine tin in the early 1900s. Mining remains from this activity include: tunnels into the sides of the canyon (closed for public safety); the stone foundation of an ore-processing stamp mill; and several dams on the creek.

The Trabuco Canyon National Forest was established in 1907, which was quickly combined into the Cleveland National Forest in 1908.[5]

One of the last California grizzly bears was killed in Trabuco Canyon in 1908, a female bear thought to be the mate of the so-called "Monster of San Mateo."[6]

On October 21, 2007, a large wildfire started in Silverado Canyon and spread to Trabuco Canyon. The Canyon was evacuated by the Fire Department.[7]


Fourth of July features an old-fashioned parade of locals riding horses and pulling home-made floats. A local landmark is the Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse, which was a favorite restaurant of former President Richard Nixon.[8][9]

The Vedanta Society of Southern California has the Ramakrishna Mission Monastery on 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the canyon, founded in 1942 by renowned author and philosopher Gerald Heard.[10] The Trabuco Canyon Community Church is located in the canyon also.[11]

Trabuco Canyon general store

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Moodian, Michael A. (2010). Rancho Santa Margarita. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub. ISBN 978-0-7385-8004-3. OCLC 464595759.
  2. ^ Brigandi, Phil (2013). Orange County chronicles. Charleston. ISBN 978-1-62584-588-7. OCLC 914181947.
  3. ^ Diseño del Rancho Trabuco
  4. ^ Spanish and Mexican Ranchos of Orange County Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Newland, James D. (2008). Cleveland National Forest. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-7385-5804-2. OCLC 212842956.
  6. ^ Neely, Nick (2019). Alta California : from San Diego to San Francisco, a journey on foot to rediscover the Golden State. Berkeley, California. ISBN 978-1-64009-166-5. OCLC 1112702743.
  7. ^ "OCFA". Archived from the original on 2007-10-27.
  8. ^ "Trabuco Oaks Steak House - Orange County Restaurant Reviews - FoodieView". Archived from the original on 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  9. ^ Trabuco Oaks Steak House - Rancho Santa Margarita - Trabuco Canyon | Urbanspoon
  10. ^ Archived 2010-06-20 at the Wayback Machine Vedanta Society: Trabuco Canyon . accessed 8/20/2010
  11. ^ Trabuco Canyon Community Church Archived 2008-10-31 at the Wayback Machine,

External linksEdit