Sendero and Esencia

First two villages on The Ranch


The first village to be developed on The Ranch was the now sold out village of Sendero.   Sendero introduced a new model for inter-generational living by placing its many “all age” neighborhoods and the gated Gavilán enclave (offering four neighborhoods of primarily single-story homes exclusive to people age 55-plus) around El Prado, a central social community core featuring clubhouses, trails, and numerous recreational amenities for people of all ages and life stages to enjoy.

Sendero also introduced residents to life on the Agrihood (TM) though the openings and operations of the community’s first two communal farms.  Gavilan Farm and Sendero Farm feature barns, raised planter beds, row crops, fruits trees, and outdoor courtyards where workshops are conducted by Rancho Mission Viejo Community Farmers to help encourage sustainable gardening practices among Ranch residents as part of a healthy lifestyle on The Ranch.

Sendero is home to Sendero Field (a 15-acre park with adventure play area), the 10-acre Sendero Marketplace retail center (now under construction), Sendero Fire Station, and several additional recreational amenities including the all ages Ranch House clubhouse with pool, spa, splash park, fitness center, barbeque/dining patio and more as well as the all ages Outpost clubhouse with event room and patio, bocce ball courts, fire pits, spa, and pool with a seasonal/special event poolside bar.  Plus, Gavilán residents enjoy exclusive access to the Hacienda clubhouse with a large lounge and special event bar, event room, fitness center, and resort-style pool and spa with cabanas.  Throughout Sendero are interconnecting walking trails lined with parks, playgrounds, a putting green, and even a native plant garden.


The second village on The Ranch is Esencia (Spanish translation: the essence).  At build-out, the village of Esencia is planned to provide an integrated mix of more than 2,500 “all age” and Gavilán homes for the 55-plus crowd, all set atop some of the highest elevations on The Ranch.

The Canyon House Neighborhood at Esencia:  The first collection of homes offered for sale at Esencia are part of The Canyon House Neighborhoods, which introduced a new model for inter-generational living by removing gates from Gavilán neighborhoods and integrating them with Esencia’s all age neighborhoods.  The Canyon House Neighborhoods are oriented around the many amenities found at The Canyon House social and recreational gathering place, including Canyon Coffee, the Esencia Visitors Center, the indoor-outdoor Retreat, the event lawn and courtyard, the meeting and art room at The Studio, and the adjacent Oak Canyon open space and trails which lead to the new Esencia Farm, the third working farm in the Agrihood of Rancho Mission Viejo.

In and around The Canyon House Neighborhoods are several additional recreational amenities including The South Plunge, an all age gathering place with pool, children’s water play park, small event lawn, and outdoor grilling and dining area.  Also open and exclusive to the Gavilán 55-plus crowd is The Outlook, complete with a covered great room, a resort-style lap pool with cabanas, a fire pit, and an outdoor dining area with barbeque grills.  Plus, now open or preparing to open soon are numerous open air rooms and retreats location within Esencia and along its scenic edges, including The Campout with its tent platforms, grills, shade structure, tables and fire pit, as well as the new Esencia Green, and South Paw Dog Park for four-legged friends.  For Gavilan residents, Sunrise, Sunset Park, the BBQ Barn, and The Getaway provide unique opportunities for picnics and other get-togethers with friends, family and neighbors.

The Hilltop Neighborhoods:  The next collection of homes at Esencia will be part of The Hilltop Neighborhoods, centered around an inter-generational recreational and social amenity called The Hilltop Club.  Slated to debut in late September 2016, six new Hilltop Neighborhoods will be terraced along hillsides to afford coastal views and backcountry territorial panoramas of the vast Rancho Mission Viejo.

Now under construction, The Hilltop Club is envisioned as the recreational and social heart of Esencia.  The expansive Hilltop Club has been designed as a resort-style clubhouse with indoor-outdoor fitness and group exercise spaces, swimming pool, wading pool, spa, seasonal and special event bar with lounge seating, BBQ pavilion, bocce ball courts, game arcade, firepits, and a large lawn for community events, celebrations and gathering.

Through the unique programming and services offered to all Rancho Mission Viejo residents via “RanchLife,” fitness classes, health and wellness workshops, happy hours, club meetings and all sorts of events and activities at The Hilltop Club will be conducted to unite residents via their shared interests and abilities versus divide them by age.  And, given its location at the pinnacle of Esencia, The Hilltop Club will feature spectacular sunrises and stunning sunsets.

More Planned at Esencia:  In addition to more residential neighborhoods, Esencia is also planned for several new amenities and facilities.  In fact, plans are underway for The Pavilion, a multipurpose gymnasium with adaptable space for basketball, volleyball, and all sorts of cultural and social events.  And, anticipated to open for instruction by Fall 2018 is the new Esencia K-8 school (part of the acclaimed Capistrano Unified School District).  In addition, approximately 50 acres of commercial space has been allocated for future phases at Esencia to accommodate   retail shops and services, restaurants, professional and medical offices, and more.

Located in the heart of south Orange County, Sendero and Esencia are just a few miles from downtown San Juan Capistrano and the coastal attractions of San Clemente and Dana Point Harbor. To the north of Sendero and Esencia are the employment centers, shops, restaurants, and urban conveniences of Ladera Ranch, Rancho Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo. And, to the east, are thousands of acres of forever protected ranchlands which blend into Caspers Wilderness Park and the Cleveland National Forest.