GO HERE: Take the Toddlers Too- Places to Hike with Young Ones
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, (s)he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in,”
Rachel Carson reminds us to continue the tradition of fostering a positive relationship between our children and their natural environment (if you don’t have your own, you can still be a mentor!). Equally important, she points out that when you take the kids out for a hike, they’re not the only ones benefiting.
We are born naturally curious, excited, and love everything living…and somehow as we distance ourselves from this character over time, and then we call ourselves “adults.” By going for a walk in the woods, along a creek, or a mountain meadow, you can reconnect with your inner child and feel the deep, inspired feelings that make us human.
Some tried and true places to create joyful outdoor experiences for the young ones:
Enchanted Forest, Applegate Valley: Accessed just off Slagle Creek Road, walk a 4-5 mile loop (or out-and-back as short as you like) in your backyard BLM forests; through pine and oak meadows, to a mixed-conifer drainage, and up to a saddle. This trail is usually snow-free all year round.
Sterling Mine Ditch Trail, Little Applegate Valley: With great views, spring wildflowers, and surprisingly large Madrone trees, this is a terrific hike for all ages. There are many access points to this 17 mile long trail, but for young ones and minimal elevation change, take the Trailhead from Demming Gulch. Best in spring or fall.
Oredson-Todd Woods, Rogue Valley foothills: A terrific place for a scavenger hunt. Easy access to this trail network from Park St. or Lupine St. will provide lots of options to make shorter or longer loops up trails into Ashland’s watershed. Follow the Clay Creek drainage to a small waterfall or wind uphill through a manzanita understory that will ignite the imagination.