5 Great Hiking Trails in California

By Carly Zinderman

5 Great Hiking Trails in California

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Hiking is a great way to spend time with your family and teach children how to explore and appreciate the natural world. Because little ones have little legs that might easily tire, new hikers often do best on short hikes. The following areas are some of the best hikes in California that both avid hikers and tiny tykes can appreciate. Look for short loops, nature centers and other learning spots that the whole family can enjoy.

1. Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA

Griffith Park is the perfect spot for a family hike. The wilderness area features numerous different paths to take, including short loops. Take your pick and end up at a nature center. Or make your way to the famous observatory to learn about space and stars. There are also numerous vantage points that showcase the entire city through the trees. Make a day of it and have a picnic in a specially set area or take a stroll through the nearby zoo after a day observing wild animals. Other kid-friendly attractions include pony rides, a carousel, Travel Town and more. 

2. White Point Nature Preserve, San Pedro, CA

Bring the kids along to the White Point Nature Preserve in San Pedro. The nature center provides an excellent starting point and resource for teaching kids about the importance of environmental protections. Trails go through the natural landscapes of California, offering occasional ocean views. Teach kids about flora and fauna as you explore some of the highlights of the nature preserve including paths, to tide pools filled with ocean dwelling creatures. Or take one of the many “easy” paths that even small kids can navigate in part on their own.

3. Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park have trails that showcase geological formations as well as archaeological and paleontological sites. Take a hike that goes through a historic point of interest from one of the Native American tribes in the area. You’ll find caves to explore, events and programs that cater to kids and adults, and much more. Spend a day or an hour to discover some of the beautiful lands and rocks in California. Be sure to bring sunscreen as well as cover ups to protect against the sun and brambling terrain. 

4. Glacier Point

You don’t have to climb Half Dome to appreciate the natural wonders of Yosemite. The Glacier Point hike is a short loop that makes it easy to cover as a family because you can carry or walk with young new hikers. Enjoy the view and experience being in one of the world’s most celebrated natural areas. You can also camp and drive to the hiking point or stay in Yosemite Village, depending on how rough and rugged you feel like being.

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5. Wildwood Regional Park, Thousand Oaks, CA

Thousand Oaks is a known as a family-friend suburb and one of the reasons is Wildwood Regional Park. All the kids that go to the local elementary schools spend a night in the wilderness area, learning about the wildlife in the area including rattlesnakes, coyotes and owls. Even before the exciting campout, you’ll find families heading to locally known highlights in the park, like the easy walk from the parking lot teepee or the park caves and waterfalls. If you find yourself wanting a hike between the crowded canyons of Los Angeles and the beaches of Santa Barbara, you can find easy trails in Wildwood.

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