The Canyoneers

Canyoneers are San Diego Natural History Museum volunteers trained to lead interpretive nature walks that teach appreciation for the great outdoors. Read more about them in Coast to Cactus: The genesis of San Diego's definitive hiking guide.

Schedule of free public hikes.

Articles by The Canyoneers

Rough beauty on Ocotillo Ridge

What is the difference between a thorn and a spine?

Three geothermal natural springs once flowed freely from the northern face of the Tierra Blanca Mountains, creating a desert oasis that was known to the Kumeyaay people. The abundant water now fills swimming pools and ...

The Canyoneers walk two cleaned-up canyons

Flourishing, accessible native habitats in an urban setting

Manzanita and Hollywood Canyons demonstrate the ability of nature to thrive in disturbed areas and neighborhoods. Not only are these canyons necessary habitats for native flora and fauna, they also act as windows into San ...

There are more than 30 palms at 17 Palms Oasis

No doubt it had 17 palms when first named

Seventeen Palms Oasis is one of the popular places to visit in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It has been a desert watering stop for over 100 years. A good way to experience early desert travel ...

It's called Goat Peak for a reason

Some critters have an easier time on rocky slopes than others

Nestled into a quiet neighborhood at the eastern fringes of Poway is a hiking trail that goes through the riparian habitat of Poway Creek, rises steeply up into chaparral slopes, and culminates at a panoramic ...

A biological and geological wonder awaits

Take a hike through one of the largest remaining wetlands in Southern California

The San Elijo Ecological Reserve protects one of the largest remaining wetlands in Southern California, as well as the bordering hills containing beautiful stands of maritime chaparral and coastal sage scrub. The La Orilla Trail ...

Morse's marvelous meeting place

Everything is designed to bring people together in this delightful natural setting

Alta Vista Botanical Gardens was designed and largely constructed by the environmental artist and contractor Bryan Morse, as well as by a host of dedicated volunteers. It is a work in progress and completely dependent ...

Lost meaning in Smugglers Canyon

Maybe the pictographs were used in female initiation ceremonies

After parking at the Pictograph Trail trailhead, begin your hike by heading east up the well-marked Pictograph Trail. Be sure to take a moment to read the informational kiosk so you understand the importance and ...

Beware Heart Attack Hill

But look for remnants of the Harper cabin

In the early 1900s, cattleman brothers Julius and Amby Harper, who had a family ranch with their father in Rattlesnake Valley in the Cuyamacas, discovered a large, gently-sloping valley in the Pinyon Mountains while looking ...

Ghost flower tricks bugs

A little surprise awaits you in Little Surprise Canyon

According to former State Park Superintendent Mark Jorgensen, this canyon “is a surprise during good wildflower seasons and holds many species of blooming plants in its shady confines.” It is the canyon commonly recommended for ...

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