Take a Hike: UC Davis Arboretum
Located In: Davis.
Distance: 3.6-mile loop.
Difficulty Level: Easy.
Know Before You Go: Avoid parking on the UC Davis campus; instead, avail of the free, 90-minute parking along 1st Street or other free parking lots nearby. On weekends, parking is free at the Garrod Drive lot on the west end of the trail. Many people run and cycle the loop, so expect to share the trail—or break out your running shoes or bike and join them! Dress in layers, bring water and binoculars, and Leave No Trace.
Why We Love It: When the temps are low with lots of snow eastward, a beautiful urban hike with plenty of flora and fauna is a great way for the whole family to soak up some vitamin D.
Fuel Up: Hit up one of several food vendors or trucks at the Davis Farmers’ Market (davisfarmersmarket.org) on Saturdays (year-round, rain or shine, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) and Wednesdays (3-6 p.m. through March; 3-7 p.m. beginning in April). One of our favorite purveyors? Kathmandu Kitchen—a cornerstone in the community known for their modern interpretation of classic Indian cuisine and insistence on using high-quality, fresh ingredients.
How seriously you take birding is up to you but paying attention to the ones around you will deepen your experience outdoors, relieve anxieties, and is a fun game (how many sightings can you count?). Here are some tips.
Use shape to identify family. While there are many species of birds, identifying its general shape will help you put it into a family of species; for example: accipitridae (hawks, eagles, and kites) or anseriformes (ducks, geese, and waterfowl).
Check behavior. Is it scurrying up a tree, hopping on the ground, or circling overhead? These behaviors will help you identify.
Season. Some birds look so similar that the only way to identify them is by knowing which ones appear during which season. Local guidebooks will give you this information.
Field marks. Once you’ve checked the general boxes, noticing specific markings on the bird —maybe a white circle around the eye or a striped pattern on its tail—will help.
For more information, visit
by Ryan Martinez
Photo 1 by Tamika Cooper @mika1693. Photos 2, 3, and 8 by @ad_astra21. Photos 4 and 6 by UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. Photo 5 by Sharon Hanks. Photo 7 by @yaninalucy.
UC Davis Arboretum [8 Images] Click Any Image To Expand