Trabuco Canyon 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 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.John (Don Juan) Forster received a Mexican land grant in 1846 and established Rancho Trabuco. The grant was bordered by Rancho Cañada de los Alisos on the west, and by Rancho Mission Viejo on the east.
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.
On October 21, 2007, a large wildfire started in Silverado Canyon and spread to Trabuco Canyon. The Canyon was evacuated by the Fire Department.
Fourth of July features an old-fashioned parade of locals riding horses and pulling home-made floats. A local landmark is the Trabuco Oaks Steak House, which was a favorite restaurant of former President Richard Nixon.
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. The Trabuco Canyon Community Church is located in the canyon also.