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, 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 in our community.
Luckily for us, here in Sacramento, we are blessed to live next to some great hiking trails. It’s never too early to start your kids hiking in the great outdoors, and enjoying the nature around us.
During the next few months, I will highlight local trails that are suitable for the family. With two young children, I have found some trails to be a bit too strenuous or others that are just not advised to take younger kids. We have found some great local areas that are suitable for even the youngest cub scouts and girl scouts to earn their badges. Even if you are not looking to “earn a badge”- an afternoon hike during this beautiful springtime weather is perfect for any occasion.
Our first hike on this tour was to the Auburn State Recreation center. Located off of Highway 49 outside of Auburn (approximately 45 minutes from Downtown Sacramento) at the North Fork of the American River and Old Foresthill Road, known as the “Confluence”, you can find miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails. Over 100 miles of trails wind through the steep American River canyons and along the North and Middle Forks of the American River. The most famous trail is the Western States Trail, which runs 100 miles from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, with over 20 miles in the park.
Trails from this area lead to Lake Clementine, Mammoth Bar, Stagecoach Trail and Quarry Trail to name a few. Each of these trails is suitable for families, just keep clear of the mountain bikers and use common sense when it comes close to the river. On the trails we explored (Quarry Trail and Lake Clementine), the most dangerous aspect of the hike was when my children wanted to explore the rock climbing area on the Quarry Trail and wanted to get a little too close (for my comfort) to viewing the dam at Lake Clementine. Both trails were shaded, easily accessible and had some great views along the way.
To get the trailheads, take I-80 East towards Reno and exit at Elm Avenue in Auburn to get to Highway 49. Once on Highway 49, you will drive about 3 miles and park in one of the few parking lots (most likely if you don’t arrive early, you will be parking on the side of the road). There is a $10 parking fee for everyone (parking lot or not) – be prepared with cash. Trailheads are easily viewable from the street, and they have an information kiosk available for questions.
Things to remember when going on a hike with kids:
- Bring plenty of water
- Bring snacks (they do have picnic benches on some of the trails)
- Wear Sunscreen.
- “Leaves of three, Let them be.” Yes, there is poison oak along the trails. Just don’t venture off the trail and you will be fine.
- Hike with a buddy and tell others when you are going and what time you are expected to arrive.
- Take a camera and enjoy the sights around you.
Hopefully you get a chance to take your family out and enjoy one of the many trails the Auburn Recreation area has to offer. If you have a favorite local trail, please share with us. We will be hiking the local trails throughout the spring and summer and will be sharing our experiences. Happy Trails!
By Heather Crivellone