If all of this rain and dreary weather are making you go stir crazy and if, like us, you’re always looking for new areas to get outside and take a hike in the area, you’re in luck. The Sacramento Valley Conservancy is opening up access to Deer Creek Hills Preserve, the area’s largest nature preserve, during “Open Saturdays” from February through May. You can walk, run, explore and meander through these stunningly beautiful 4,600 acres of rolling grasslands and oak woodland that are normally closed to the public. These are self-guided hikes, so be sure to come prepared with proper sturdy footwear, plenty of water, snacks, and dress accordingly for the weather. The trail is marked and a map will be provided. Arrive as early as 9 a.m. to start your adventure, but you must return and be off trails by 1 p.m., when the gates will be locked. Open Saturdays are free, but here’s the key, you must register online ahead of time to ensure there’s enough interest so that the gates will be open. Visit Sacramentovalleyconservancy.org for more info and to register, along with a map and directions to Deer Creek Hills Preserve. No dogs are allowed, unfortunately, but that’s probably for the best, as we want to help aid the Conservancy in their ever so important mission to protect this amazing land. Now, get out there one of these Saturdays and get your hike on!

**This write-up first appeared in print on page 9 of issue #283 (Jan. 16 – 30, 2019)**