All month, I’ve been sharing ways to make time in nature part of your holiday traditions. I hope you’ll end on a high note: with a Christmas Day family hike.
Last year we enjoyed a day-after Christmas hike and it was the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of the holiday stress. It offered us a chance to reconnect with each other away from the house and the presents. A time to run around, listen to the quiet and just enjoy each others’ company.
I’ve gathered a few of our favorite places to hike here in Los Angeles, but I’d love to hear about yours, too.
1. Ernest E. Debs Regional Park
The Big Explorer currently counts the Audubon Center at Debs Park as one of his favorite places to explore nature. It is literally a nature playground for kids. Adjacent to the Center is the kid-friendly ¾-mile Butterfly Loop Trail, perfect when combined with time spent in the Children’s Woodland area.
The Audubon Center is closed on Sundays, but the 280+-acre Ernest E. Debs Regional Park has plenty of other trails just waiting to be explored.
2. Franklin Canyon Park
With a duck pond, Franklin Canyon Lake and a wonderful nature center, there’s a lot to love at Franklin Canyon Park. We usually start out on the Blinderman Trail near the nature center, head toward the lake and follow the trail around in a giant loop.
Franklin Canyon Park a great spot for toddlers as it’s a wonderful spot to meander, look up to the tops of gorgeous oaks, smell all the scented plants and watch the ducks and turtles.
3. Malibu Bluffs Park
During our last visit, we only had a little time to explore the trails that can be found at the edge of Malibu Bluffs Park. The 1.2-mile trail that begins at the edge of the parking lot loops around the entire park and offers stunning views of the Pacific the entire time.
The bonus here is that the trails are on the outskirts of a community park, complete with a small playground and tons of open grassy space.
4. Temescal Gateway Park
I’m always amazed I don’t see more families at Temescal Gateway Park. After all, it’s a great spot for a kid-friendly hike. The Temescal Canyon Trail, which is a little less than 2.5 miles roundtrip, offers an up-close view of a waterfall.
But honestly, we consider the place a nature playground, with some 140 acres of oak and sycamore canyons and amazing views of the ocean and city.
5. Will Rogers State Historic Park
The 3-mile Inspiration Loop Trail is our favorite family hike at Will Rogers State Historic Park – at least for the moment. (From Inspiration Point, you can see the Los Angeles Basin from downtown to the ocean.)
We’ve gone on color walks here, been geocaching and enjoyed outdoor playdates. And the Little Explorer loves the expansive grassy areas found near the parking lot.
Your turn! Where’s your favorite place to hike with kids in Los Angeles (or wherever you live)?