SAN DIEGO, CA—Today, the Canyoneers with the San Diego Natural History Museum announced their new—50th—season of free, guided hikes. Sixty hikes will be offered this season, beginning September 10, 2023, and continuing through June 22, 2024. Nature enthusiasts can see the full schedule (and register) at sdnat.org/canyoneers.
One of the few trail guide groups nationwide that’s affiliated with a museum rather than a park or reserve, the Canyoneers are San Diego Natural History Museum volunteers with comprehensive training from museum scientists and other local experts on the natural history of our region.
The group formed in 1973 as a way to advocate for protecting Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon as a native plant preserve. They eventually dropped “Florida” from their name as they added hikes in other parks, coastal wetlands, the desert, and mountains.
The 2023-2024 season spans 10 months (they take a break in July and August to avoid the hottest times of the year) and includes 60 hikes. The Canyoneers cover diverse terrain, ranging from easy coastal or urban trails to tough treks across Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and our many mountain ranges. Private hikes for school groups are also available, made possible with funding from partner Subaru of America.
“San Diego is the most biodiverse county in the contiguous United States, and there is so much nature to see and discover,” said Gretchen Schafer, current president of the Canyoneers. “No matter what you’re looking to achieve—discover new trails, get some exercise, observe local wildlife, or find inspiration for your own native plant garden—you're bound to find it on a Canyoneers hike.”
The hikes are free, but in order to help create the best experience for hikers and the least impact on the environment, capacity is limited, and advanced online registration is required. Registration opens to museum members five weeks prior to the hike date, and publicly opens one month prior to the hike date.
“Partnering with The Nat supports our goals to safeguard resources for future generations and preserve natural spaces,” said Eric Park, zone retail marketing manager at Subaru of America. “The Canyoneers connect people with nature in our region, often inspiring a long-term appreciation of, and love for, our planet.”
Hikers are also encouraged to explore local trailheads through Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors, a hiking guide written, edited, and published by the Canyoneers and Sunbelt Publications.
Detailing more than 250 trails in the region, the book provides an unprecedented level of information about the flora and fauna in San Diego County. It can be purchased online or in the Museum store for $29.95.
Subaru of America, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, and the Canyoneers themselves generously provided funding for the programs listed above.
The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is one of California’s oldest and most respected cultural and scientific institutions. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, the Museum works to preserve and protect this amazing place we call home. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM, with extended hours during the summer. For more information, call 877.946.7797 or visit sdnat.org. To stay up to date on Museum news, follow The Nat on Instagram and Twitter and join the discussion on Facebook.