Here we study hybridization, introgression and lineage diversification in the widely distributed canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis) and the relict island oak (Q. tomentella), two Californian golden cup oaks with an intriguing biogeographical history. We employed restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing and integrated phylogenomic and population genomic analyses to study hybridization and reconstruct the evolutionary past of these taxa. Our analyses revealed the presence of two cryptic lineages within Q. chrysolepis. One of these lineages shares its most recent common ancestor with Q. tomentella, supporting the paraphyly of Q. chrysolepis. The split of these lineages was estimated to take place during the late Pliocene or the early Pleistocene, a time corresponding well with the common presence of Q. tomentella in the fossil records of continental California. Analyses also revealed historical hybridization among lineages, high introgression from Q. tomentella into Q. chrysolepis in their current area of sympatry, and widespread admixture between the two lineages of Q. chrysolepis in contact zones. Our results support that the two lineages of Q. chrysolepis behave as a single functional species phenotypically and ecologically well differentiated from Q. tomentella, a situation that can be only accommodated considering hybridization and speciation as a continuum with diffuse limits.