Throughout the Sacramento valley, we have some amazing opportunities to visit nature and explore popular trails. Every month, I will try to introduce you to local family friendly trails that are within a “reasonable” drive from downtown Sacramento. Last month, we visited the Auburn State Recreation Center, with over 100 miles of trails to bike and hike on. This month, our family re-visited our favorite trail – Hidden Falls.
Hidden Falls Regional Park is a nature park that hosts 221-acres of open space, hosting groves of woodlands, and 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 kids 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 no complaining. The terrain was easy, no steep climbs and well-marked trails, it could even accommodate a stroller! This is a great trail to start your hiking adventures with your family.
Some amenities they have if you are beginning your hiking journey: They do have a bathroom at the beginning of the trail (vault toilets) for those who need them. Free parking in the lot (arrive early to be guaranteed a spot as this trail has become quite popular on the weekends) and they have just a few picnic benches at the beginning of the trail. I would suggest packing your lunch in and enjoying the view of the waterfall. But for those who would rather sit at an actual table, they do have a few near the parking lot.
Things to remember on a hike:
- Apply Sunscreen
- Bring Snacks
- Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be home before leaving on the hike.
- “Leaves of three, let them be.” Yes, there is poison oak along the trails. Just stay on the trail and don’t touch the leaves.
- Always carry a small first aid kit for those small emergencies and skinned up knees.
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.
Hidden Falls Regional Park is located at 7587 Mears Place, just north of Mt. Vernon Road between Auburn and Lincoln. Approximately 1 hour from downtown Sacramento. Happy Trails!
By Heather Crivellone