San Diego’s secret summer is post-Labor Day when the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT) Canyoneers come out of hibernation to begin a new season of free nature walks. This season, nature enthusiasts can enjoy 73 free hikes from September 6 through June 28.
TheNAT is full of wonders, but nothing beats exploring San Diego County’s lagoons, canyons, mountains, and desert in person. Our museum-trained naturalists keep you informed on what you see during your hike. Each fall we sponsor a new training class which infuses our existing group of more than 100 Canyoneers with the enthusiasm of new members. In fact, the Canyoneers’ new president this year is Jim Varnell, who graduated in 2013.
Afraid these nature walks will be too strenuous? Don’t be. They are, in fact, walks, not forced marches. Most are easy, two-to-three mile strolls that take a couple hours on a Saturday or Sunday. If the trek is going to be longer or more vigorous, we let you know in hike the descriptions displayed on our new interactive map, on the Museum calendar, or in printed brochures the Museum would be happy to send you. Contact 877.946.7797 to request a printed copy. For a nominal fee of $2 per person, group tours for senior citizen groups, scouts, clubs, and schools can be arranged by contacting 619.255.0210.
Like the ancient people who lived in our region for thousands of years before explorers and the settlers arrived, we follow the seasons as we explore our region. Most Canyoneer nature walks in September and October range from the coast to 20 miles inland. We move east as the summer’s heat mellows in November and December and then begin adding desert hikes to the schedule in January and February. By March and April, we are celebrating spring all over the county. We focus on the still cool mountains in May and June.
After you arrive to the hiking location and check-in with your guiding Canyoneer(s), you’ll move along the trail in small groups, pausing to look, listen, feel, and smell as you go. Your experience of the trail will vary with the time of year and the area hiked. Your guide is prepared to talk about the plants, flowers, birds, insects, and reptiles along the trail and will do their best to accommodate the desires and abilities of all participants. To prepare you for the experience we have included a list of recommended field guides which can be found on our website here. We hope to see you on the trail soon!
Posted by Ellen Bevier.
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