Introduction to Lake Forest, California

Lake Forest is a California city located in Orange County's Saddleback Valley, about 20 miles southeast of Anaheim and 45 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The city is bisected by Interstate I-5 and is also near Interstate I-405 and California State Highways 73 and 133. The Orange County Airport is only minutes away. Nearby communities include Mission Viejo (to the east), Laguna Niguel (to the south) and Irvine (to the northwest).

Lake Forest History

The area once known as El Toro was a growing agricultural community for much of the 20th century until residential, commercial and industrial development began to replace the farmland following World War II. When Occidental Petroleum decided to create a master-planned community in the 1960s around the area's abundant trees and man-made lakes, development ensued and the community was named Lake Forest owing to the numerous eucalyptus trees which provided landscaping for its new modern homes. In 1991 Lake Forest was incorporated as a city, with residents voting to invoke the name of the planned community as the new city's name.

Lake Forest Points of Interest

Lake Forest is home to a number of outdoor sites offering diversions of both a recreational and cultural nature. Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park offers around 1,500 acres of woodlands usable for mountain biking, hiking and many other forms of outdoor recreation. The Aliso Creek Trail follows a scenic fifteen-plus mile course from Lake Forest to its neighboring city of Laguna Niguel. Serrano Creek Community Park, originally created as an equestrian park for horses owned by local residents, is now an ideal place for hiking, biking or picnicking. At the southern end of this park is Heritage Hill Historical Park, whose historic buildings reflect a cross-section of Saddleback Valley history. Visitors to Lake Forest also have the luxury of meandering to other places in Orange County, where a wealth of world class attractions can be found only minutes away.


Total Population 79,928
Male Share of the Population 49.5%
Female Share of the Population 50.5%
Senior Citizens 10.9%
Employed Population 16+ 42,714
Age of the Population 39


% of people married 55.1%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 44%
Median Earnings25+ $50,595
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $21,305
Median Earnings With High School Degree $31,805


Median Family Income $108,782
% Above Poverty Level 92.6%
% Below Poverty Level 7.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 26 minutes
% Working from Home 5.8%
% Walking and Biking to Work 2.5%
% Using Public Transportation 0.5%


People Living Alone 20.5%
Median Gross Rent $1,697
Median House Value $524,400


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 48.3%
US/American 0.4%
English 8.3%
Irish 10.8%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Lake Forest Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 12 miles SE of Santa Ana, California
County Orange
Standard Zip Codes 92630
P.O. Box Zip Codes 92609
Phone Area Codes 949
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 33.646
Longitude -117.688

Lake Forest Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.9 miles
Jan Temp 47 to 66 F
Apr Temp 51 to 72 F
Jul Temp 62 to 82 F
Oct Temp 57 to 78 F
Annual Precip 14 inches
Distance 5.1 miles
Jan Temp 41 to 68 F
Apr Temp 48 to 73 F
Jul Temp 60 to 84 F
Oct Temp 53 to 79 F
Annual Precip 13.8 inches
Distance 17.8 miles
Jan Temp 45 to 69 F
Apr Temp 51 to 73 F
Jul Temp 62 to 84 F
Oct Temp 56 to 80 F
Annual Precip 11.2 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Lake Forest, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

El Toro (92609, 92610, 92630)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Irvine 238,474 $111,471
Laguna Hills 31,017 $105,199
Laguna Niguel 64,825 $120,169
Laguna Woods 16,359 $57,444
Mission Viejo 95,979 $112,850
Rancho Santa Margarita 49,026 $122,673

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

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Lake Forest High Schools

Serves 2,570 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 25.4

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