Founded in 1878, Silverado, a California Historical Landmark, is an unincorporated community in Silverado Canyon, which is located in the Santa Ana Mountains in eastern Orange County, California. Portions of the town sit on a former Mexican land Grant Rancho Lomas de Santiago. The majority of Silverado is located within the boundaries of Cleveland National Forest. The area was mined extensively for silver during the late 19th century. Remnants of mining operations such as the Blue Light Mine are still scattered throughout the surrounding mountains.
Timber was harvested for use by the railroad. Coal was mined in a nearby area known at the time as Carbondale. Ancient sea life fossils can be found within the sandstone cliffs in the area. During Spanish rule, the canyon was visited by Spanish explorers and was known by the name Cañada de la Madera (Timber Canyon). The town in Spain by that name bears a remarkable resemblance to Silverado Canyon. (The name Silverado is a type of Spanglish indicating a place where silver is found; a parallel formation to El Dorado.) The area enjoyed a renaissance in popularity in the 1940s as a Hot Springs vacation retreat, during which time hotels and restaurants prospered.
A large number of weekend cabins were also built at that time. Home to a number of artists and craftsmen, the town now consists of a general store, a restaurant, a public library, an elementary school, a church, two fire stations, and a post office. It hosts an annual Country Fair, and an Easter breakfast. A local landmark near Silverado is Cook's Corner, popular with bikers.