Here Comes a Hike-A-Thon

To encourage more people to spend quality time outside – wherever and whenever they can – we're partnering with Nature Unplugged to host ranger-led hikes during their October 2023 Hike-a-Thon.

The event has a dual purpose: To encourage people to fully experience nature, and to raise funds for Nature Unplugged’s scholarship and subsidy program for organizations and communities in need.   


Participating in the Hike-A-Thon is optional, and mileage is calculated Oct. 1 – 31 via trail application.  Learn more about the 2023 Hike-A-Thon here .  


Participants will have all month to log their travels for opportunities to collect prizes and earn matched dollars for charitable contributions. County Park Rangers are hosting interpretive hikes to inspire them to go the extra mile:  


9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 7    

Oakoasis County Preserve – Easy to Moderate   

12620 Wildcat Canyon Rd., Lakeside, CA 92040  

Park phone: 619-561-0580  

A favorite for solo hikers and families alike, Oakoasis boasts nearly 400 acres of chaparral, manzanita, and woodlands. A 3-mile loop trail explores the cool shade of mature oaks, slight hills to sweeping views of the San Vicente reservoir, grassy valleys and a tree revitalization zone.   


9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 14   

16281 Sycamore Canyon Rd., Poway, CA 92064  

Park phone: 858-513-4737  

More than 10 miles of trails in this 2,272-acre preserve lead to grand vistas, abundant wildlife and interesting reminders of human habitation. For this activity, we’ll start on the Poway end and hike into Martha’s Grove, taking the trail down into the valley, along the olive groves, below the old windmill, into the nature center, and then back to the starting point, for roughly 3.5 miles.   


9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 21  

Wilderness Gardens County Preserve – Easy to Moderate   

14209 Highway 76, Pala, CA 92059  

Park phone: 760-742-1631  

Parking fee is $3  

This 737-acre preserve is the oldest in the County portfolio and offers 4 miles of relatively easy trails with excellent birdwatching opportunities. We’ll take the Main Trail and Alice Fries Trail for a 2-mile adventure – with the option to continue to overviews of the San Luis Rey River corridor. On site is the foundation of Sickler’s Grist Mill – a remnant of North County’s rich agricultural history – and more colorful stories can be discovered in the onsite visitor’s center.  


9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 28  

22135 Highway 79, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070  

Park Phone: 760-765-4098  

Meet us at the new, LEED-certified 6,000+-square-foot nature center for some ranger education before stepping foot on a new stretch of trail to plateaus on the east side of the preserve. Take in thick vegetation and hearty groves of native oaks – don’t be surprised by the occasional hawk or cow on the roughly 3.9-mile trek! 


Ranger-led hikes are free and open to guests of all ages. Registration is not required. 

Please plan appropriately with good footwear, sun protection and plenty of water and snacks.  

A Hike-A-Thon Kick-Off event has also been scheduled from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Los Penasquitos Ranch House, located at 12122 Canyonside Park Drive, San Diego.

Members of the public are welcome to attend this event which will include a presentation about the program, a County proclamation, resource tables and wellness information, a fitness activity and a guided nature walk to the creek. The museum will be open, and guests will have access to the barn and live animals! 

For more information about the Hike-A-Thon Kick-Off or Planned Hikes, contact Jessica Geiszler at or Sonya Mohamed at   

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