Hikers in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve / photo by Lanette Otvos

Docent Naturalist Guided Activity Guidelines

Hikers in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve (Lanette Otvos)

Thank you for reviewing this information before heading out to a Midpen preserve for an enriched experience with our docent naturalists. We encourage you to participate in the wide variety of adventures offered by these volunteers.  All participants must sign a waiver of liability prior to each activity – docents will facilitate this process at the activity meeting location/trailhead.

The guided activities are FREE; though some require reservations, see complete details on our guided activities page.

The activity durations listed are averages based on our experience – always allow extra time in your schedule for unusual circumstances, or the slower pace of some groups. Also plan to arrive a little early to ensure a prompt start for each activity. 

After your participation on a guided activity please share your feedback — your input is meaningful to our volunteers and program staff – thank you!


To Ensure your Experience is Enjoyable

For guided activities requiring reservations the system will accept reservations two weeks in advance of an activity date and allows a maximum of 4 people per reservation.

  • For all hikes, wear boots or sturdy walking shoes appropriate for rugged trails. Dress in or bring layers (T-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, sweater, and/or jacket). The weather can be unpredictable. No matter what season it is, be prepared for rain, wind, fog, or sun!
  • Carry ample drinking water with you – water is not available on preserves. Bring sun protection (hat, sunscreen) and consider insect repellent.
  • Please check our website – Guided Activities and Trail Conditions – for possible notifications before heading out to a docent naturalist activity. Occasionally activities must be cancelled, or trails closed with little notice.
  • Heavy rain cancels hike activities unless otherwise noted in the description. If there is light rain or the threat of rain, go to the meeting place. Docent naturalists will plan to meet participants and discuss hike options – route or duration may be altered due to weather and trail conditions.
  • Participants are encouraged to make personal decisions on comfort, safety, and willingness to drive or hike in stormy or threatening weather conditions.  Don’t like getting wet? Wait for a sunny day!
  • For a mountain bike or horseback ride, heavy rain within two days prior to the activity will cancel it.
  • For all mountain bike rides, cyclists must provide their own bike, must wear helmets and bikes must be in good condition. Cyclist participants must be very familiar with the operation of gears and brakes on their mountain bike.
  • Equestrians must provide their own horses (no stallions). Lead lines are required and breast collars are recommended for all horses, and helmets must be worn by all riders under age 18.
  • Hikers yield to horses; bicyclists yield to hikers and horses. Observe trail speed limits (15 mph max; 5 mph when passing).
  • Dogs are only allowed on a guided activity that is specifically labeled as a dog activity. All dogs must be well-behaved and socialized and controlled on a maximum 6-foot leash.
  • Please be courteous, stay alert, and make your presence known to other trail users well in advance, particularly when approaching from behind.
  • Restrooms are not available at all preserves; please plan accordingly.
  • Please carpool if possible. Parking is limited in many locations.

Special Note

If you have a group of 8 or more people who would like to attend a scheduled docent naturalist guided activity, please contact Interpretation & Education program staff to discuss in advance at docent@openspace.org  Other arrangements may need to be considered for your group.

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