Coto de Caza
Feel at Home in Coto de Caza
Coto de Caza, one of the nations’ largest, private gated communities, is located in south Orange County between Rancho Santa Margarita and the Saddleback mountains. The 5,000-acre, unincorporated community enjoys miles of pristine natural beauty and offers residents a unique way of life through countless amenities. Coto de Caza houses more than 4,000 homes and there are still many undeveloped lots for purchase throughout the community.
Within the master-planned community, there are 60 separate sub-divisions and neighborhoods comprised of condominiums, town homes, single-family homes, custom homes, lavish estates and ranches. Residents enjoy rambling natural landscape; winding trails through the Cleveland National Forest; countless sport fields and courts featuring recreational activities, clubhouses, golf, swimming and tennis; and tranquil parks making Coto a sought after community in which to live and thrive.
Surrounded by Nature
The meaning of the name Coto de Caza can be loosely translated to “preserve of the hunt.” In the late 1800s, Spanish and Portuguese ranchers enjoyed hunting deer, doves, pheasants and small game throughout the Plano Trabuco area. Producer John Ford filmed Western movies in the area in the 1940s and 1950s, while Western actors including John Wayne, Bruce Cabot and Robert Stack used the area for trap and skeet shooting.
In 1969, a real estate development company envisioned the area as a hunting preserve. That area is now The Lodge at Coto de Caza, a chic boutique hotel and collection of residences. Featuring two enticing floor plans with elegant interiors, spacious patios and panoramic views of the nature reserve, The Lodge offers a unique twist on a traditional hunting lodge.
One can find 14 miles of wilderness trails, peaceful foothills and serene scenery, and privileges to some of the nation’s best golf and athletic clubs. The Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park, generally open to the public except, surrounds the blissful Coto de Caza community on its eastern, northern and southern borders. The park, nearly 500 acres, is a wildlife and plant sanctuary noted for its biological diversity, oak groves, sycamores and two creeks. Featuring nearly six miles of equestrian, hiking and biking trails, the park boasts an educational center for outdoor education for local schools and community groups and is an ecological preserve for native endangered plan and animal species.
Exclusive Community Features
Coto de Caza is located 20 minutes from the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 5) and five minutes from the Foothill Toll Road (State Route 241) and features two 18-hole golf courses and two clubhouses – the “old club” and the “new club.” The new club, the Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club, houses the facilities for the two golf courses and adjacent tennis courts. The old club, located in the housing area known as The Village, was once home to tennis guru and teacher Vic Braden and was also the home competition location for the Coto de Caza Youth Swim Team.
The new club construction of the Spa & Sports Club was completed in 2008 and showcases a fitness center with state-of-the-art StarTrac exercise equipment, premier spa services, an extensive snack bar, and the Michael Chang Tennis Hall of Fame and Member Lounge. The Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet is the first private, 36-hole country club in Orange County.
Both Coto de Caza 18-hole courses were designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and the North course was rated the most difficult course in Orange County. A public restaurant, Gentile’s, is located at the Sports Club.
Annual Coto de Caza events include a Fourth of July parade, Easter egg hunt and free summer movies in the park. Two Little League fields provide additional entertainment for the community. While there is no major shopping within the community gates, a small general store provides common sundries to residents. Larger shopping areas can be found in the nearby communities of Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo and Ladera Ranch.
Many public schools are found in the Coto de Caza area, including Tesoro High School, Wagon Wheel Elementary School and Las Flores Intermediate School. Inside the Coto gates, Merryhill private school provides pre-school through second grade educations. Nearby in Rancho Santa Margarita is Santa Margarita Catholic School, a private school competitive in nearly all high school sports. St. John’s Episcopal School and Serra Catholic School are private elementary and middle schools located just outside of Coto de Caza. Several colleges and universities are also located in the surrounding area for those pursing a higher education degree.