The Villages Golf and Country Club not only has glorious views of the surrounding hills, it actually owns 450 acres of them, all the way up to 2300-foot peaks, overlooking Mount Hamilton and its observatories. No wonder that early residents started to explore this wonderful natural area, using existing farm tracks. Over the years a network of over 10 miles of trails was developed, benches and picnic tables were placed in strategic locations and trail signs placed at all intersections. To accomplish all this, The Villages Hiking Club was formed and has flourished ever since.
In time the Hiking Club members wanted to spread their wings and hike in various surrounding parks and Open Space areas. Thus a formal hiking schedule was developed with hikes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. These are published weekly in The Villager and are usually open to all Villagers. Hikes are classified by levels of difficulty, mainly distance and elevation difference. Our lowest difficulty hikes are accomplished by “Walkers” and are mostly on flat terrain and less than 5 miles long. “Rambler” hikes are 4-7 miles long with elevation differences less than 1000 feet. “Long Hikers” trek 6-10 miles with elevation differences over 1000 feet. Most weeks there is a hike for everybody. Special hikes include the Pinnacles National Monument, Big Basin, and other areas outside The Villages. Exploration of The Villages’ hidden trails is also popular. On the Saturday following Thanksgiving, the Hiking Club hosts a hike and potluck lunch. On New Year’s Day members trek to the highest point of our hiking trails to celebrate the New Year with appropriate beverages and food.
The Hiking Club is always looking for more members who are interested in the outdoors no matter what level of hiking is preferred. This is a very social group that loves to gather for hikes, potluck dinners and other events. Monthly meetings are held on the last Monday of each month (except May and December) when a speaker presents a slide show on topics of interest, such as mountain lions, hiking equipment, and interesting hiking areas.