The days are getting longer, which means nature lovers can take advantage of extended daylight, cooler weather, and evening programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Finding time during the day to enjoy a guided hike to the Landmarks’ open spaces, native wildflowers, sycamore groves, and oak woodlands can be a challenge. With daylight savings time creating more opportunity for later programs, people with hectic daytime schedules can still take in fresh air and exercise on the land.
For people looking for nature’s wonders both on land and in the sky, the Night Mercury Hike in Orchard Hills on Wednesday, March 29 is a great option. The hike begins with a short presentation on natural and man-made events that occur in the sky, and then travels through Orchard Hills. Hikers can keep an eye out for a glimpse of the planet Mercury as the sun starts to dip below the horizon.
Another reoccurring hike that’s perfect for longer days is the After Work Fitness Hike on OC Parks’ Paved Hicks Haul Road. The next fitness focused hike takes place on Wednesday, March 22 at 6 p.m., and travels roughly 3.5 miles. Outdoor enthusiasts can take in panoramic views of Orange County as volunteers lead the group to the top of Loma Ridge and back. Even though the hike is guided by staff, trekkers are welcome to travel at a modified pace depending on individual comfort levels. As its name implies, Paved Hicks Haul Road is paved so hikers can wear sturdy running shoes and are encouraged to bring water and dress in layers. Hikers age 16 and older are welcome to join this evening program, which has an elevation change of 450 feet.
Families with children interested in learning about nature on the Landmarks during cooler evening temperatures can register for Celebrate Cultures in Nature: Welcome Spring on Monday, March 20 in OC Parks’ Black Star Canyon. The young and the young at heart can discover unique historical tales about the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks during this program that celebrates different cultures each month. In March the program will begin at 6 p.m. and highlight the spring season as hikers age 8 and over search for signs of springtime wildflowers and wildlife in Baker Meadow.
The Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks offer a variety of hikes, but visitors to the lands are also welcome to register for Flow Yoga in the Hills – Starlight. The evening program begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 31 and welcomes all levels of yoga lovers to take in a refreshing one –hour yoga session in Orchard Hills. The vinyasa-style practice leads participants through various poses while enjoying fresh air and exercise. Don’t forget to bring a mat!
Enjoy the great outdoors during an evening program on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks! Remember to wear sunscreen (even in the late afternoon and early evening), and don’t forget to pack water, a snack, and wear layers and appropriate shoes. Programs are open to the public with required registration, but space is limited and early registration is recommended. For more information and to register for a program visit www.LetsGoOutside.org.