Living in Los Angeles definitely has it perks. Just three weeks ago we were enjoying our first snow on a weekend trip to Yosemite National Park and yesterday we took a hike near Santa Monica in 80 plus degree weather.
Gotta love it.
This month’s family nature club outing took us to Will Rogers State Historic Park, just a 5-minute drive from the Santa Monica Pier. I’m sad to report that we didn’t have a single family of takers this month. That’s right – no one joined us, in spite of the gorgeous day, beautiful weather and serene locale.
Even dad and the ailing little explorer bowed out, leaving the adventure to the big explorer and I alone. Turned out to be an early Christmas present.
Our goal was to hike the 3-mile Inspiration Loop Trail, and we welcomed the time to ourselves. In fact, the park was much quieter than usual, perhaps because the fantastic weather caught everyone off guard.
We had the trail pretty much to ourselves, occasionally passing fellow hikers or mountain bikers. We listened to the silence and its interruptions. We looked for birds, lizards, tracks in the dirt, cool rocks and even a few butterflies. We also talked a lot about important stuff. At least, important stuff to a 6 year old.
We enjoyed the magnificent view from the top of the trail at Inspiration Point. From here, you can see the Los Angeles Basin from downtown to the ocean. It’s pretty breathtaking.
Then we decided to be adventurous and took a side trail and “got lost” getting back to the main trail. Backtracking easily solved our dilemma, but made me realize just how fun it can be to lose yourself with a kid and his imagination.
As we sat enjoying our picnic lunch after we’d finished our hike, I asked the big explorer to tell me his favorite part. “Being able to spend some time alone with you, mommy.”
And there was my gift – a reminder of what really matters. Connecting with those you love.
Tips for Visiting With Kids
- Turn the hike into a hunt. Look for animal tracks, flowers of certain colors, birds or even rocks.
- Take in the view at Inspiration Point. There are several benches and a picnic table at the top of the loop, making it a perfect spot to stop and sit for a while.
- Picnic and play on the grassy grounds. Plan for a picnic lunch after your hike. If the kiddos still have energy, let ’em play on the upper lawn area. It’s an ideal spot for kit flying.
- The 3-mile Inspiration Loop Trail is a wide, stroller-friendly dirt fire road; popular with dogs, horses and mountain bikers alike
- Some portions of the trail have a severe drop off on one side, so be especially mindful of little hikers
- Poison oak is plentiful in these parts, so keep hands away from native plants
- Some portions of the trail are open and sunny and can be especially hot on warm days; bring plenty of water and wear a hat and sunscreen
- Great spot for wildflower lovers come spring
- Restrooms can be found in the parking area
- Parking is $12; free with a California State Parks Pass
- Plenty of picnic tables available (even shady ones!), some with access to charcoal grills
- Expansive grassy areas are popular with families & a great place to play, fly a kite, have a picnic or just run around
- Will Rogers SHP grounds also feature ranch house tours, polo matches, horseback riding lessons and trail rides
If you’d like to be added to the family nature club email list so you can receive information about upcoming events, let me know by leaving a comment (and your email address!). I’d love to see you outside!