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The Santa Ana Mountains are a mountain range east of Los Angeles and Santa Ana. It spans the border of Orange and Riverside Counties. Its northern boundary is the canyon made by the Santa Ana River and its southern boundary is near Camp Pendleton. To its east is Lake Elsinore and its western flanks are being over-run by tract houses. This mountain range is relatively small by California standards, the crest is generally below 3000 feet although its apex around santiago and modjeska peaks is over 5000 feet. The dominant terrain is chaparral or oak woodland with a few pines near the top. The weather is generally similar to the rest of the area; the Santa Anas blow through pretty hard sometimes. A few times a year the highest peaks get a dusting of snow. Some of the major canyons in the area are Santiago Canyon, Silverado Canyon, Modjeska Canyon, Trabuco Canyon, and San Juan Canyon.

this is an underappreciated area of relatively wild terrain within an hours drive of millions of people. There are quite a few nice places to hike including around Silverado Canyon and Holy Jim Canyon, and farther south above Lake Elsinore. There's also a pretty big reservoir called either Lake Irvine or Santiago Reservoir based on which map you prefer. There are some nice dirt roads around which are pretty fun to drive down (usually washed out after big storms) and an off road vehicle area near the southern part of the range. If you live in Orange County, CA, i suggest you check it out, try driving up Santiago Canyon or Trabuco Canyon, or Ortega Highway

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