Warmer weather in Sacramento means lots of outdoor adventures for our family! We like to take advantage of these nice, sunny days as we spend every possible moment outdoors and exploring the world around us. Usually this ends up in the form of hiking, biking or just running around in one of our great parks or nature centers here in the Sacramento valley. My kids are (finally) at the age where we can take them on day hikes and not worry too much about if they can manage the distance or not.
Luckily for us, here in Sacramento we have many trails that are suitable for hiking, biking, jogging and exploring nature. There are several places that you can take children for an afternoon outdoor adventure (Effie Yeaw Nature Center, American River bike trail and Folsom Lake are just a few that come to mind). But this past weekend we decided to “head up the hill” to Auburn and visit Hidden Falls Regional Park. If you haven’t had a chance to experience this part of Northern California I highly suggest you put it on your “to do” list.
First of all, Auburn itself is a charming mountainous town with restaurants, wineries and “mom & pop” shops galore. But, it was Hidden Falls that we were interested in visiting this time around. The nature park is a 221-acre open space located at 7587 Mears Place, north of Mt. Vernon Road between Auburn and Lincoln. The park is host to groves of woodlands, 7 miles of natural trails that are suitable for hiking, biking, running and horseback riding. It’s also home to Coon Creek, Deadman creek and a 20-30 foot high waterfall that runs year round. Activities include fishing, hiking, picnicking and wildlife viewing- a great way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon! There are several different trails that you can take, we chose one that was about 3 miles roundtrip and was easy enough for both my 2 and 4 year olds to hike. They had a blast skipping along the trail, spotting their favorite wildflowers, finding butterflies and hopping over a few piles of horse excrement (or as my children were yelling out “Big Poop”!) Once we arrived at the waterfall, it was a perfect stopping point for a snack and some great family pictures. The kids were troopers and made the hike in and out with minimal complaining (we were also bribing them with a stop to the ice cream parlor on the way home).
I highly recommend this park and the trails to the waterfall for families with kids of all ages. It’s never too early to get your kids out into nature and exploring. Plus, everyone can use a little calorie burn with their family fun! And if you have the energy when you are done, check out Old Town Auburn and some of their shops and restaurants. Or, if wine tasting is your idea of fun, then check out Auburn’s wine trail, some vineyards are even family friendly to bring the kids along. But again, a trip up to Auburn ( about 45 minutes north of Sacramento) and a hike to Hidden Falls is well worth your Saturday (or any day) afternoon!