Natural History Hikes

Take advantage of the healing powers of nature while exploring diverse ecosystems on Sonoma Mountain. SSU Naturalists will lead you on a tour of this university education and research site, and give you insights into the ways we can work together to restore regional landscapes. Activities will be subject to change based on the most recent guidance about COVID safety


SSU Student and Community Naturalists


University students and community docents will be your guide. Our guides are trained in natural history of the mountain and interpretation of preserve programs. They will lead you on one of many trails into this 450-acre preserve on the shoulder of Sonoma Mountain. Hike options include visits to the headwaters of Copeland Creek and spectacular vistas of the Santa Rosa Valley and Valley of the Moon.

We will meet in the Osborn Preserve parking lot. Trail groups leave promptly at 10 A.M. to explore different areas of the preserve, learning nature observation skills and knowledge along the way, as well as ways to take this new information back home and take action. Groups will break for lunch on the trail, and return to the parking lot at the end of the hike by 2 P.M.

Hikes take place each Saturday from April 2 - May 7

Learn about becoming a trained Naturalist at the following links:


These hikes are family-friendly and open to all. Minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian. No strollers are permitted due to unpaved trails. No previous experience or knowledge is required.

Expect to hike at least 1 mile with 200 foot elevation gain, and some groups will hike up to 3.5 miles with 500 feet elevation gain, adaptable to participants abilities. Tours are variable in length, adapted to the interests and expertise of participants and naturalists, and governed by current environmental conditions.

Fairfield Osborn Preserve is a 15-minute drive from Sonoma State's main campus, on Lichau Road in Penngrove. Parking is limited so please consider carpooling, and let us know if you plan to do this so we can open more registration spots accordingly. Driving directions can be found at the following link:

Participants must sign a waiver upon arrival. Pets and smoking are not permitted.

A restroom, sink for hand-washing and potable water are available on site.

These are rain or shine events.

COVID-19 Safety

At registration, you will be asked if you can provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination and booster. All staff are fully vaccinated and boosted. Do not attend if you test positive for COVID-19 or if you have any symptoms that may be indicative of COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated. SSU requires that you must properly wear a mask when indoors (e.g., education center at Osborn Preserve, carpooling to or from the preserve), even if you are vaccinated. Bandanas, gaiters or vented masks are not suitable. We will spend our time outdoors where social distancing is possible. All SSU updated guidelines can be found here.

What to Bring

Please bring a suitable mask, backpack, sun and insect protection, rain gear, a water bottle with at least 1 liter capacity, a bag lunch, and shoes to hike in. Layered clothing, long pants and hand sanitizer are recommended.

How to Sign Up

No advanced registration necessary. This event is free of charge.

About the Center

Sonoma State University’s Center for Environmental Inquiry empowers university students to work with community members on the environmental challenges of the North Bay. Our mission is to create an engaged and environmentally ready society, one where all people have the skills to find solutions to the challenges facing our earth. SSU Preserves are open to everyone engaged in education or research. Reservations are required.

Fairfield Osborn Preserve
Admission Fees
Contact Email
Contact Name
Suzanne DeCoursey
Date & Time Registration Link
Saturday, April, 2, 2022, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Saturday, April, 9, 2022, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Saturday, April, 16, 2022, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Saturday, April, 23, 2022, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Saturday, April, 30, 2022, 10:00am to 2:00pm
Saturday, May, 7, 2022, 10:00am to 2:00pm