State Parks Week: A chance to explore, learn about the outdoors in Southern California

State Parks Week: A chance to explore, learn about the outdoors in Southern California

There’s no denying that Southern California’s vast outdoor space is a valued commodity, especially in recent years, as a place people can explore, learn and relax in nature.

State Parks Week kicks off on Wednesday, June 12, offering special activities and opportunities for people to get out to their favorite places, whether they be the ocean or one of the region’s lakes, nearby deserts or forests, or some of the many hiking trails or campgrounds available in the parks system.

The initiative kicked off three years ago, in 2022, modeled after National Parks Week. There are more than 100 State Parks hosting in-person or virtual events.

Each year, more than 70 million people visit State Parks locations; California’s system is smaller only to the National Parks collection.

There are 280 parks, including the newest just added earlier this month, Dos Rios, located about eight miles west of Modesto in the Central Valley.

In total, there’s 1.4 million acres in the state system with more than 280 miles of California coastline, 625 miles of lake and river frontage, nearly 15,000 campsites and 3,000 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails, according to State Parks.

It also includes 3,195 historic buildings and more than 11,000 known prehistoric and historic archaeological sites.

Several local events showcasing the system’s offerings are planned in upcoming days, with a focus on “exploring new experiences” to start things off on June 12.

Tidepool tours will happen as part of State Parks Week, from June 12 – 16, a chance for the public to get out and explore. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

A tidepool exploration will happen from 9 a.m. to noon on June 12 at Crystal Cove State Park and from 10 a.m. to noon to explore the Marine Protected Area, and further south there will be an “Art in the Park” program at the San Clemente Historic Cottage.

Chino Hills State Park will host a mountain biking tour from 8:15 to 10 a.m.; the guided bike ride will go from the Discovery Center to Four Corners. The ride is 11.8 miles with a 1,179-foot elevation gain. The address for parking is 4500 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea.

A group will gather at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area to use telescopes to view the craters of the moon and the rings around Saturn. If cloud cover makes viewing difficult, they will walk the Ironwood Nature Trail in search of nocturnal animal activity. Registration is required for this activity, and make sure to bring a flashlight, water and snacks and dress in layers.

On June 13, a theme is “nourish your health and well being,” with yoga at 5:45 p.m. at San Clemente State Beach Historic Cottage. Take a yoga mat, comfy shoes and water.

Volunteers at Huntington State Beach will do a 90-minute tai chi lesson on the beach starting at 7:30 a.m., meet at Tower 8.

Silverwood Lake in Hesperia is hosting guided yoga, meditation and hike at 9.a.m.

In Malibu, yoga on the lawn of The Adamson House, a historic building, will be led at 6 p.m. by docents. All ages, all levels are welcome.

At Crystal Cove State Park, take a bluff trail sunset walk starting at 7 p.m.; park at Pelican Point Lot 4.

The theme on June 14 is “support climate reliance.” At Crystal Cove State Park, from 9 a.m. to noon, a native plant hike will explore the coastal landscape.

That same day from 9:50 a.m. to noon at Bolsa Chica State Beach, citizen scientists or aspiring biologists can see how water quality testing is done, observing plankton that live in the local waters.

A beach cleanup will be held at Leo Carrillo State Park at 9 a.m., just north of Malibu. Gloves and bags will be provided, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own bags. Representatives from the Natural Resources department will host an informational booth, highlighting the diverse ecosystems present within the park.

Later that day, a junior ranger program will be held at the Leo Carrillo State Park Campground Amphitheater at 3 p.m. for children ages 7-12 and feature an immersive exploration of the local environment focusing on the intersection of land and sea.

Later that night, a campfire program starting at 7:45 p.m. will happen at the San Mateo Campground at San Onofre State Beach.

June 15 will put a focus on “celebrating community and culture.”

At San Onofre State Beach, starting at 9 a.m., take an Indigenous culture hike that leaves from the San Mateo campground amphitheater.

Want to try surfing? Catch a wave from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Huntington State Beach where staff will be on hand at Tower 11 to give surf lessons and lead beach games. A clean up will start at 10 a.m., leaving from the tower, and there will also be a community barbeque.

There will also be tours held from 4 to 8 p.m. highlighting Crystal Cove’s rich history, an area unlike any other where restored, eclectic cottages line the sand, one of the most popular and storied areas in the entire State Parks system.

Silverwood Lake will host a campfire program at 8:30 p.m., where participants will learn about stargazing and constellations.

On June 16, the theme is “care for our shared lands.”

A beach cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon will happen at Calafia State Beach, as well as from 10 a.m. to noon at Huntington State Beach. Meet at Tower 15 and take a bucket or bag.

At Doheny State Beach from 9 a.m. to noon, plant native plants at the butterfly garden near the park’s entrance.

Head to Topanga State Beach in Los Angeles County for a trail maintenance event starting at 8:30 a.m., with volunteers clearing vegetation and doing trail tread repairs, followed by complimentary lunch.

From 5 to 6:50 p.m., join a guided tour of the restored cottages at Crystal Cove State Beach and learn how the public fought to keep the area as part of the State Parks system.

The California Citrus State Historic Park near Corona will host community partners such as Inland Empire Kids Outdoors, The Friends of California Citrus Park, The Full Circle Players, and The Master Gardeners. There will be fun interactive activities for the family starting at 11 a.m. through 3 pm.. at the back patio of the museum and visitor center.

See a full list of events here:  CAStateParksWeek.org.

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