Looking for a nearby activity that is good for the mind, body and soul -- and is free? Check out this year's Discover Diablo, a public hike series by Save Mount Diablo that offers guided interpretive family walks, hikes and property tours open to everyone looking to get out in nature.
The 24 events in 2020 will take place on a Save Mount Diablo property or on land that it helped to protect, as participants explore the Bay Area's wild lands and open spaces.
Save Mount Diablo is a land trust founded in 1971 to preserve Mount Diablo's peaks, surrounding foothills and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies. Its members are biologists, conservationists, hikers, bikers, equestrians, bird watchers -- and people who just love to look at the mountain.
"It is the goal of the Discover Diablo program to build connections between people, Save Mount Diablo and the land, helping our communities develop a strong sense of place and a deepened appreciation for our collective back yard," said Ted Clement, executive director of Save Mount Diablo.
Through this hiking program, Save Mount Diablo intends to reach new audiences and build its membership base of outdoor enthusiasts. The goal is also to spark a passion for the Diablo Range and to help people deepen their connections to the land and nature.
"We want to cultivate a love of the land in participants, as that is what it will take to ensure the precious Mount Diablo natural area is taken care of for generations to come," Clement said.
Discover Diablo hikes, which are for all ages and skill levels, are guided by knowledgeable staff and experienced volunteer hike leaders. Some of the properties hiked in the program are not yet open to the public, so participants have special opportunities to visit breathtaking landscapes rarely seen.
Shell Martinez Refinery is sponsoring the program for the fourth year.
"We hope that people will enjoy learning more about the diverse habitats and the striking vistas while spending time outside with their families and friends," said Ann Notarangelo, the refinery's external relations manager.
Registration is required for the hikes and tours. For a schedule, go to bit.ly/Discover-Diablo-Hikes-Calendar.
The hikes kick off this Saturday with an easy, 1-mile jaunt that circles the Mount Diablo peak just below the summit, for 360-degree views. Although the hikes are free, parks charge entrance fees.
To learn more about the land trust, visit www.savemountdiablo.org.
Discover Diablo Guided Hikes
Jan. 25: Mary Bowerman Birthday Hike
Feb. 1: Shell Ridge Open Space Hike
Feb. 22: Oak Woodland Hike
Feb. 29: Wildlife Connectivity Hike
March 14: Connect With Nature Hike
March 21: Wildflowers on the Equinox Hike
March 28: Morgan Territory Wildflower Hike
April 4: Curry Canyon Ranch Photography Skills Hike
April 11: Irish Canyon Audubon Hike
April 26: Mangini Ranch Widflower Hike
May 2: Mitchell Canyon Medicinal Herb Walk
May 7: Curry Canyon Ranch Mt. Diablo Audubon Hike
May 9: Mitchel Canyon Wildflower Hike
June 6: Small Wonders along the Trail
July 11: Wright Canyon Evening Property Tour
Aug. 1: Mangini Ranch Meditation Hike
Sept. 19: Mitchell Canyon Tarantula Hike
Oct. 10: Borges Ranch Fall Hike
Oct. 25: Black Diamond Mines Halloween Hike
Nov. 7: Curry Point to Balancing Rock Hike -- Great Views with Only Modest Effort
Nov. 14: Irish Canyon Audubon Hike
Nov. 21: Big Bend Property Tour
Dec. 5: Winter's Transformations in the Oak Savanna
Dec. 19: Pine Creek Loop Hike.