Saddleback Valley

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Saddleback Valley
Saddleback from Lake MV.JPG
Saddleback Mountain and its foothills viewed from Lake Mission Viejo, a lake in the valley
Coordinates: 33°37′35″N117°40′52″W / 33.626289°N 117.681028°W / 33.626289; -117.681028 Coordinates: 33°37′35″N117°40′52″W / 33.626289°N 117.681028°W / 33.626289; -117.681028
Location Orange County, California, United States
Highest elevation5,689 ft (1,734 m)

Saddleback Valley refers to the flat and foothill areas west-southwest of the Saddleback double peak of the Santa Ana Mountains and east-northeast of the hilly Crystal Cove State Park in southern Orange County, California. The region primarily encompasses the cities of Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, and Rancho Santa Margarita, as well as the communities of Coto de Caza and Ladera Ranch. The cities of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods, Laguna Hills, and Laguna Niguel, as well as some of Orange County's eastern canyon communities, partially reside within the valley. The southeastern portion of Irvine also encroaches upon the area, but the two are not typically associated with each other.


The cityscape within Saddleback Valley is suburban, a remote reach of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The area is recently developed and on the outskirts of the Southern California megalopolis, so wildlife sightings are more common. Snakes, coyotes, and mountain lions have long inhabited the area. [1] [2] Mountain lion attacks on people have happened in the outlying wilderness parks of Saddleback Valley, but they are very rare. [3]

Cultural impact

The identity of Saddleback Valley has proven to be of importance throughout the history of major civilizations in the area. Many businesses, schools, places, and other entities in the region have "Saddleback" or "Saddleback Valley" incorporated into their names. Saddleback Church, one of the largest megachurches in the world, is based in Lake Forest. Saddleback College is located in Mission Viejo and bears the name of the region, as well as an illustration of the Saddleback mountains as their logo. Saddleback Valley Unified School District, as its name suggests, serves much of the valley with public elementary, intermediate, and high schools. Several small businesses in the area have also included Saddleback in their names and branding.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Laguna Niguel, California</span> City in the state of California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mission Viejo, California</span> City in the state of California, United States

Mission Viejo is a commuter city in the Saddleback Valley in Orange County, California, United States. Mission Viejo is considered one of the largest master-planned communities ever built under a single project in the United States and is rivaled only by Highlands Ranch in size. Its population as of 2020 was 93,653.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rancho Santa Margarita, California</span> City in the state of California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Santa Ana Mountains</span> Mountain range in California, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Saddleback College</span> Public community college in California

Saddleback College (Saddleback) is a public community college in Mission Viejo, California. It is part of the California Community College system and awards over 300 associate degrees, academic certificates, and occupational skills awards in 190 programs. Established in 1968, Saddleback is the oldest and southernmost institution governed by the South Orange County Community College District. Saddleback College is named for the saddle between the twin peaks of Santiago Peak and Modjeska Peak in the Cleveland National Forest.

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Mission Viejo High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school located in Mission Viejo, California, United States, as part of the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. The school has served the area since 1966. Students within its attendance boundaries live in western Mission Viejo, southwest Lake Forest, Trabuco Canyon, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Laguna Hills. Its mascot is Pablo the Diablo and its colors are scarlet and gold. 230 credits are required to graduate. It is the home to one of the only agricultural farms on a high school campus in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District.

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  2. "Mountain Lion". Wildlife. Orange County Outdoors. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  3. Forgione, Mary (October 14, 2020). "The cougar in that viral video looked scary, but experts say the runner was safe". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved January 2, 2021.