Hiking with your kids is a great way to get exercise and enjoy nature. But sometimes crowds on local trails can make it difficult to enjoy a hike. Here are some trails that are off the beaten path.
Point Reyes National Seashore – If you’re looking for an easy hike that will teach your kids about Native American history, head to the Kule Loklo trail. There are plenty of other trails nearby if you want to extend your hike. The trailhead starts near the Bear Valley Visitors Center, and the short path leads to a replica of a Coast Miwok Indian village. 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes Station. 415-464-5100.
Sycamore Grove Park – This is always a beautiful place to go for a hike with your family, but the best time is fall when you can view the changing colors of the leaves. Little ones love to run and play in the piles of colorful leaves. The 847-acre park allows hiking, biking and jogging. Check the website for weekend nature programs. $7 parking fee. 1051 Wetmore Road and 5049 Arroyo Road, Livermore. 925-960-2400.
Butano State Park – With its mossy redwood forests, babbling creeks, hollowed-out trees and banana slugs and newts along the trails, this is the perfect place for your kids to use their imagination. Another plus: It’s never extremely crowded. It features 40 miles of hiking trails, some of which are easy enough for little legs. There’s also a campground. 1500 Cloverdale Road, Pescadero. 650-879-2040.
Lands Ends – Most locals know this place, but tourists don’t, making it a peaceful place to escape the city’s crowds. There’s a beautiful view around every turn and the trail leads to the ruins of the historic Sutro Baths, home to the world’s largest swimming pool in 1894. Land’s End Lookout, 680 Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco. 415-426-5240.
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park – This off-the-beaten path trail is popular with locals and is a great retreat from the busy Santa Cruz beaches. Its dense second and third growth redwood forest offers 30 miles of trails for hiking, biking and jogging. Some of the trails are being repaired from storm damage. $8 parking fee. Four miles north of Aptos on Aptos Creek Road. 831-763-7063.
Tag: Teresa Mills-Faraudo is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.