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Sugarloaf Ridge State Park sets November events

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park sets November events
A group of birders gather on the Creekside Nature Trail at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.Photo by Alma Shaw

Limited Mobility Birding at Dusk: Sat. Nov. 5, 5–6:30 p.m.

Many people know birds are most active at dawn, but dusk is the second daily peak of bird activity, and you don’t have to be an early bird to experience it. Join Dr. Dan Levitis at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for a slow, wheelchair-accessible excursion designed for those new to bird-watching. Bring binoculars if you have them, but we’ll have a few pairs to lend and will be doing as much listening as looking. By the time we finish it will be dark, so in addition to water, consider bringing a flashlight and a jacket. Tickets are $10. Meet at the White Barn lot. Parking fees apply.

Ease of access: The entire event will take place on the Creekside Nature Trail, our 0.9mile ADA-accessible trail. Some benches are available along the way for those who need a rest.

Family Hike: Fridays, Nov. 11 and Nov. 25, 10–11:30 a.m.

Come to the park for a peaceful hike through the woods. Join Sugarloaf Ridge State Park docents on a peaceful family hike through the woods that is good for all ages. On this 2-mile hike with 400 feet of elevation gain, you will learn about Sugarloaf park’s plants, animals, and history.

The event is free. Registration is not required. Meet outside the visitor center. Parking fees apply. Heavy rains will cancel. Bring a reusable drink container for your little one to enjoy free hot cocoa post-hike, if desired.

The Animals of Sugarloaf with Naturalist John Lynch: Sat., Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

November can be a very peaceful time at Sugarloaf.

Wet or dry, it’s the month when nature takes a moment. But the animals are still here. Birds call, coyotes yip, and if you turn over the wrong rock you may hear a rattle.

However, for most, seeking the presence of wildlife requires a bit of sleuthing. A broken twig lets us know a mule tail deer is browsing; some Tootsie Roll-like scat left by a bobcat marks its territory; a dirt and fir-needle tower tells us a turret spider lurks below. Join Certified California Naturalist John Lynch on a 4.1-mile, 3-hour hike from Lower Bald Mountain Trail over to the Vista Trail, then down and back on Meadow Trail. Lynch notes that for this hike, “we need to sharpen our senses and put on our deerstalker caps.”

Tickets are $15 for adults and half-price for youth (12-17 years old), Sugarloaf members, and Sugarloaf volunteers. Children under 12 can attend for free. Meet at the main lot. Bring plenty of water and sun protection. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for slippery and rocky trails. Bring a snack if desired. Parking fees apply. Heavy rains cancel. This hike is not accessible by wheelchair or stroller.

Avian Series at Sugarloaf featuring Woodpeckers: Sun., Nov. 13, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

Join Sugarloaf docent Dana Glei in a 2-mile hike with 250 feet of elevation change, focusing on a specific family of birds and learning how to identify them by sight, sound, flight pattern, and/or behavior. The November Avian Series hike will highlight woodpeckers. Hikers are almost certain to see acorn woodpeckers but may also see one or more of the following: northern flicker, pileated woodpecker, Nuttall’s woodpecker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, or red-breasted sapsucker. The hike starts by walking toward the Observatory, then takes the Lower Bald Mountain Trail to the Creekside Trail to the Hillside Trail, stopping at the lookout vista on Hillside. The return is along Hillside Trail to the White Barn.

All hikes meet at the White Barn. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for students, youth (12–17 years old), Sugarloaf members, and volunteers; and free for children under 12. Bring water, sun protection, binoculars, scope or camera if you have it and, if you’d like, a snack and a bird identification guide. If you use iNaturalist or would like to learn how to use it, make sure it’s already installed on your phone before you arrive for the hike. Parking fees apply.

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