More programs return to Placerita Canyon Nature Center

Ranger Frank Hoffman handles Catori, a 9-and-a-half-year-old barn owl housed at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center, on Sunday afternoon. March 28, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Santa Clarita Valley residents have more opportunities to get out in nature, as some of the Placerita Nature Center’s most popular programs make a return, including its twilight hike this Saturday.

Ranger Frank Hoffman, head ranger and park supervisor at the center, and two other Placerita Nature Center associates are heading these programs for participants of all ages.

During the twilight hike, participants can discuss the nocturnal creatures at Placerita, such as skunks, opossums, coyotes, bats and a myriad of insects and arthropods, along with the seasonal night sky, as they stroll through the natural area.

“This is the only opportunity that our visiting public has to be in our park after normal working hours,” Hoffman said. “We bring our blacklight out so we can get down low to the ground and find these things in the dark as they bioluminescently glow.”

Participants for Saturday’s twilight hike are set to be in for a special treat, with the Perseids meteor shower streaking through the night sky as the Earth passes through the path of comet Swift-Tuttle.

Twilight hikes are set to continue on the second Saturday of every month, while they are also set to be offered at the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month starting Sept. 11.

Kimberly Facko, right, points out river rocks to her son Fernando Magana as the pair explores a creek near the Placerita Nature Center Monday afternoon following an easing of COVID 19 related restrictions. May 11, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Other Placerita Canyon programs

Every Saturday, families can also go on an easy, hour-long family nature walk to explore the natural area’s animals, plants and cultural history from 11 a.m. to noon.

Additionally, the center offers early-morning bird walks at 8 a.m. on the first and second Saturday of every month for birders of all levels, while those interested in plant life can take a walk around the park on the fourth Saturday of every month at 9:30 a.m. in search of the blooms of the season, discovering some of the native plants that are seasonally blooming year-round along the trails.

The center also has a new after-school program starting in September for young naturalists, 3-5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Thursdays, with activities set to include group games, STEM, nature hikes and natural history learning opportunities designed to allow kids to appreciate the natural world while building teamwork skills and self-confidence.

The twilight hike is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, with Hoffman set to share some of the center’s animal ambassadors beforehand starting around 6:30 p.m. at the Placerita Nature Center, located at 19152 Placerita Canyon Road in Newhall.

The next twilight hike is scheduled 7 p.m. Sept. 11, and is set to reoccur every second Saturday and is $7 per person.  The registration deadline for the Sept. 11 hike is Aug. 28.

Pre-registration and fees may apply to some programs. For more information, call 661-259-7721, visit or register at 

Chance Testin, 4, learns about the desert tortoise from Los Angels County volunteer Roger McClure at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center booth at Central Park during SCV Water’s Annual Open House held at Central Park and the SCV Water Conservation Garden and Patio in Saugus on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

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