Caspers Wilderness Park and Santa Rosa Plateau - Natural Environments in Orange County's Big Backyard

Natural Environments in Orange County's Big Backyard
By Jerry Schad

Orange County's got more than just Disneyland, it's got the Pacific Ocean, coastal hills, and it's got the Santa Ana Mountains. In its natural environs, just an hour drive and a short walk from the sprawling suburban landscape, you'll find tide pools, canyon streams, and views from mountain peaks.

The climate varies from a Mediteranean-like coastal zone to an inland mountain area influenced by the Santa Ana winds. This climatic difference and millions of years of cold and wet, warm and dry, have given rise to more than 800 flowering-plants species ranging from the drought-tolerant cacti to moisture-loving wildflowers. Be on the watch for bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, badgers, mule deer, and other mammals, with mule deer being the most abundant species in the area. This is also a great place for bird-watching, and if you're lucky, you might catch sight of an eagle.

Except for the late summer/early autumn months when water is scarce and smog is at its worst, Orange County's dry, balmy climate is ideal for year-round outdoor adventure. The Santa Rosa Plateau and Caspers Wilderness State Park are the jewels in the crown of Orange County. However, watch out for the poison oak, the ticks, and the rattlesnakes when venturing out into this 782-square-mile region.

— GORP staff


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