If you are anything like me, one of your main goals for the summer is to get the kids outdoors. Pulling children away from their screens and getting them connected to nature is a theme I often hear other parents discussing. From experience I know that exploring the many kid friendly hikes Northern California has to offer is by far one of the best ways to get our children engaged with the great outdoors. The magnificent kid friendly hikes both in and around Redwood National and States Parks have the tendency to instill a sense of awe and wonder for nature and her beauty, not only for the children, but the entire family as well.
We have compiled a list of some of the most kid friendly hikes Northern California offers….
While the Redwood National & State park system boasts some pretty amazing trails, the surrounding area of the entire Redwood Coast has some spots to explore that you and the family really do not want to miss. Starting from the North and working our way South, these hiking trails are some of the local favorites for families with children.
Lady Bird Johnson Grove
Named after the late environmental activist and former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson Grove is easily one of the favorite and most popular kid friendly hikes Northern California provides. You can walk among ancient redwoods on this 1-mile loop that lies near the top of a ridge in Redwood National Park.
One of features of the trails that families seem to like most is the brochure provided at the trailhead which corresponds to marked posts along the trail guiding you along this historically significant trail making it an education experience for all.
Trinidad Head Loop
Ocean views, spouting whales, and endless coastline. Trinidad Head Loop is an 1.3 mile trail located just outside of the quaint fishing village of Trinidad, CA. The trailhead parking is found at Trinidad State Beach and Trinidad Pier, which are also great places to explore with little ones. Trinidad head is actually one of the most accessible kid friendly hikes Northern California provides. It also boasts one of the best views along the entire pacific coastline. Grey whales, sea lions, and dolphins are often spotted from the trail’s numerous viewpoints.
The Hammond Trail
Often referred to as the “best place to walk, jog, or bike” by Humboldt county residents, this popular trail cruises along spectacular bluffs that allow you to gaze out over onto the Pacific ocean. This is a well maintained, smooth trail consisting of a combination of dirt and asphalt. It starts off at Clam Beach State Park and ends at the Mad River Bridge in McKinleyville, CA. In total the trail is 5.5 miles but can easily be done in smaller sections. If you are wanting to take the family on a bike ride while visiting the Redwood Coast this is the trail for you. There is a great little park located direct on the trail as well. There are also several places along the trail where you can spot whales.
Humboldt Bay Trail
While only sections of this trail are complete at this time, you do not want to miss out on one of the most kid friendly hikes Northern California and the Redwood Coast offers. At the moment, the northern 3- mile portion of the Humboldt Bay Trail seems to be the most popular section. It runs through the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary where you can spot a variety of migratory birds and native plant species.
Make sure to stop by the Visitors Center located at the Marsh. There’s lots of great interactive exhibits for kids and educational info about the marsh and its inhabitants.
The southern-most potion of the Humboldt Bay Trail is a 1.5 mile stretch known as the Hikshari’ Trail. This section winds along the Elk River and through the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. This is paved trail which makes it great for biking and skating. It is also pet friendly for those of you traveling with fur babies. Eventually the Humboldt Bay Trail will trace the length of the bay, connecting these two section of trail, spanning some 13 miles between Eureka and Arcata, CA. For now the various sections are all worth exploring.
Heading away from the coastline and a bit deeper into the redwood forest, Cheatham Grove at Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park offers a wonderful kid friendly trail that the whole family will enjoy. This 0.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located just off of Hwy 36 near Carlotta, CA. Chatham Grove features beautiful wild flowers and a particularly beautiful stand of ancient Redwoods. The beauty of Cheatham Grove is famously reflected in the movie Return of the Jedi which was filmed here.
With trails like these it is easy to get the whole family out this summer to explore the serene splendor of the Redwood Coast. As we all know, kids grow up entirely too fast. Making memories to cherish for a lifetime is what it is all about. And trust us, you and your family will never forget the natural beauty that exists along this most magical stretch of the Northern California coastline.
Author: Dawn Marie
Travel Passionista, Marketing Maven, and Guest Contributor.