SAN DIEGO, CA—After a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic, the Canyoneers are back for another season of in-person, guided hikes that bring people closer to nature in our region. The Canyoneers’ popular online recommendations, which were launched last year, will continue to be offered for those who prefer to hike on their own.
The season kicks off Saturday, September 12, 2021, with hikes scheduled nearly every weekend (and sometimes midweek) through June 26, 2022. In total, the Canyoneers are offering 57 hikes that cover diverse terrain, ranging from the coast to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and from the Tijuana Estuary to Palomar Mountain. The outings range from short loops on paved trails to challenging hikes with substantial elevation changes.
Canyoneers are volunteer trail guides who have had comprehensive training by museum scientists and local experts on the natural history of the region. They have offered guided hikes for more than 45 years.
“If the last year taught us anything, it’s about the restorative power of nature,” said Bronwyn Jones, Canyoneers President. “We’re really excited to get back to in-person hikes, because there’s something special about exploring with a trained naturalist who invites you to stop, look, listen, smell, and examine to understand that everything is connected in nature.”
The guided, interpretive hikes are free, but advance online registration is now required, and capacity is typically limited to 25 participants each hike. Registration will open to museum members five weeks prior to the hike date and to non-members one month prior to the hike date.
Interested participants are invited to check out the full list of hikes—and reserve a spot for the events that are currently accepting reservations—at sdnat.org/canyoneers.
Options for Solo Hikers
Last year, the Canyoneers were not able to host in-person hikes due to social distancing guidelines and restrictions on group gatherings. But as people battled screen fatigue and sought fresh air and open spaces, the Canyoneers quickly pivoted and began offering “top 10” lists of favorite trails to encourage people to hike on their own. These were announced each quarter and became very popular; the online-exclusive content was among the most accessed by The Nat’s website visitors and social media communities.
While the guided hikes are back, the Canyoneers will continue to offer recommendations virtually for enthusiasts who aren't able to attend an in-person event, or simply prefer to hike on their own. They plan to share their list of the “Top 3 BYOB (Bring Your Own Binoculars) Trails” in early September.
Hikers who want even more options can purchase Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors. This book was written, edited, and published by the Canyoneers and Sunbelt Publications, and details more than 250 local trails.
“Exploration and inspiration lead to appreciation and hopefully protection of our natural resources, and that is a cause we are passionate about,” said Eric Park, zone retail marketing manager at Subaru of America, which has been a sponsor and supporter of the program for six years. “Subaru partners with local communities to promote environmental responsibility and encourage people to love the earth, and the Canyoneers program at The Nat is a terrific example of that.”
San Diego is known for its incredibly diverse terrain, ranging from beaches and chaparral to the mountains and desert further inland. Because of this, we also have one of the highest concentrations of different species of any geographic area of similar size. Much of the area’s native habitat is threatened by development, habitat loss, invasive species, and more, making our region a biodiversity hotspot that needs protection.
One of the few trail-guide groups nationwide affiliated with a natural history museum rather than a park or reserve, Canyoneers have provided free guided tours in San Diego County since 1973.
This program is made possible by hundreds of dedicated volunteers and proud partner Subaru of America, who is supporting the program for the sixth year in a row.
ABOUT THE SAN DIEGO NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is one of California’s oldest and most respected cultural and science institutions. Founded in 1874 by a small group of naturalists, 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. For more information, visit sdnat.org. To stay up to date on Museum news, follow The Nat on Instagram and Twitter and join the discussion on Facebook.
For additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact Rebecca Handelsman, 619.206.3408, firstname.lastname@example.org.