As the sun sets earlier in the day and evening hours are extended, hikers, bikers, and equestrians can experience their favorite open spaces on Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks by registering for a moonlight, twilight, or evening hike. Visitors can enjoy the crisp air of the wildlands as the sun sets, and possibly spot creatures that prefer moonlight! Outdoor enthusiasts can escape the light and noise of urban neighborhoods and enjoy the serenity of the Landmarks as nature’s day shift concludes and the night shift begins.
Nocturnal and diurnal are familiar terms for periods of activity in plants and wildlife. Nocturnal animals like opossums, field mice, bats and owls thrive at night, under the moonlight, and diurnal animals like humans are most active during the day. However, there is another major category of animal activity and that is crepuscular, a term drawn from the Latin word for “twilight” and used for animals who are active primarily at dawn or dusk. These fickle crepuscular animals such as skunks, rabbits, and deer love the early morning sunlight and twilight, and lucky nature lovers may catch a glimpse of these creatures during activities on the Landmarks.
There is always wildlife bustling and native species growing on the Landmarks, whether nocturnal, diurnal or crepuscular creatures. As the nights grow longer and temperatures cool, consider taking time to explore the local lands by registering for an evening or nighttime hike. If the light of the moon brings out your adventurous side, register for a full moon or moonlight hike soon as these programs fill quickly! Click the links below to join a family-friendly program on the Irvine Natural Landmarks by twilight or moonlight.
- Twilight Hike in the Canyons on Tuesday, 10/16 from 5:30-7 p.m. invites hikers to take their workout outside on the Mesa Loop in OC Parks’ Black Star Wilderness Park. This 3-mile roundtrip hike will be led at a moderate pace and will give trail trekkers the opportunity to experience panoramic views of the surrounding canyons as the sun sets. Animal lovers can keep their eyes peeled for wildlife starting their nightly routines.
- Orchard Hills Evening Hike on Wednesday, 10/17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. is great for hikers 12 and over and offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to reward themselves after the three-mile loop through Orchard hills and check out the beautiful, ridge-top view of Irvine and the Pacific coastline.
- After Work Fitness Hike on Paved Hicks Haul Road on Monday, 10/22 from 6 -7 p.m. invites fitness buffs 16 and over to trade in their work shoes for tennis shoes during a fitness-focused hike on the paved Hicks Haul Road. The hike travels about 3.5 miles up to the top of Loma Ridge and back down for a wonderful panoramic view of Orange County. Participants can travel at a slower or faster pace, depending on their own comfort level.
Experience one of your favorite canyons in a new way or discover how different flora and fauna thrives in the evening. Grab sturdy, closed-toe shoes, water and a flashlight (red tinting preferred) and sign up for a moonlight, twilight or evening activity. Most activities are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. Some programs are suitable for children 8 and over, and children must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. For more details on programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and how to experience your natural surroundings in a way you might not have experienced them before visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities.