Family Friendly Hikes

Jun 03, 2019
The weather is warming and school’s almost out. It’s time to go on some family hikes!

by Jana Hemphill

The weather is warming and school’s almost out. It’s time to go on some family hikes! But your little one's small stride might make a summit push of South Sister a bit unlikely. Make hiking fun for everyone with our guide to family-friendly trails at your Land Trust protected Community Preserves. Bring a hand lens with you on these trails and you’ll also discover the miniature world that’s all around.

  • Hindman Springs Trail, Camp Polk Meadow Preserve (1/4 mile roundtrip). Keep an eye out for wildflowers and an ear out for songbirds and owls on this gravel trail around the historic Hindman Springs area of Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. From just past the kiosk, you can loop around in either direction. Take a break at a scenic overlook with a bench partway through your walk. Click here for more information.

 

  • Founder’s Trail, Indian Ford Meadow Preserve (1 mile roundtrip). Take in views of the Three Sisters, gaze at the swaying ponderosa pines, and watch for birds flitting in the willows along this flat, scenic loop. The only trail at Indian Ford Meadow Preserve, take a left or right at the kiosk and follow the loop around the first Land Trust protected Preserve. A couple of benches at a scenic overlook make for a great stop along the route. Click here for more information.

Enjoy these shorter hikes with the little ones in your life. Photo: Land Trust.
Enjoy these shorter hikes with the little ones in your life. Photo: Land Trust.

  • Meadow Trails to Scenic Overlook, Whychus Canyon Preserve (3.4 miles roundtrip). Find a wide assortment of wildflowers in varying shades of yellows, purples, and pinks on the Meadow Trails at Whychus Canyon Preserve. From the kiosk, head north (straight) before quickly splitting off to the right on the Meadow Trails. At the Meadow Trails junction, continue straight to the next junction. Then, head straight/right for a scenic overview of a meadow down on the canyon floor. A bench and a couple of logs to sit on make a good resting place before turning back the way you came. Click here for a trail map.

 

  • Santiam Wagon Road Trail, Whychus Canyon Preserve (2.2 miles roundtrip). If your kids are interested in history, the Santiam Wagon Road trail will be perfect for them! At Whychus Canyon Preserve, head northeast (to the right) from the trailhead. You’ll quickly come to the first in a series of interpretive signs, telling the history of the Santiam Wagon Road and what it was like for travelers in the 1880’s. At a trail junction with the Meadow Trails, turn around and return the way you came for a 2.2 mile trip. You can also continue on by heading left on the Meadow Trails, then turning left again to make a 2.5 mile loop. It’s important to note that the Santiam Wagon Road trail does have some large rocks in the trail. Click here for a trail map.

 

  • Fir Trails, Metolius Preserve (1 mile roundtrip – 2.6 miles roundtrip). A choose your own adventure loop! The Fir Trails have a few different options for families with a loop trail and a figure 8 trail. Start at the South Trailhead of the Metolius Preserve. For a shorter trek, head north from the trailhead and cross a bridge at the South Fork of Lake Creek. Enjoy the cooling waters and shady surroundings of the creek, then meander .3 miles to a trail junction. Take a left at the junction to head back .6 miles to the trailhead via a loop. For a longer walk, head north from the kiosk, then turn west (left) and walk near the road before crossing it and relaxing among the fir trees that the trails are named after. Click here for a trail map.


Share your Land Trust explorations with us via Facebook or by tagging us on Instagram. We hope to see you out on our Preserves soon!


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