Land Trust Hikes for Kids

May 10, 2022
The weather is warming and trails are drying out. It’s time to plan some family hikes that are fun for everyone!

by Jana Hemphill

The weather is warming and trails are drying out. It’s time to plan 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 some 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 you.

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 on Camp Polk Meadow Preserve.

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 along the way make for great stops for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chocolate treats. Click here for more information on Indian Ford Meadow Preserve.

Discover the outdoors with your little one! Photo: Elan Buendia.
Discover the outdoors with your little one! Photo: Elan Buendia.
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 eight 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 more information on the Metolius Preserve.

Meadow Trails to Scenic Overlook, Whychus Canyon Preserve (3.4 miles roundtrip).
Building up the mileage, 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 more information on Whychus Canyon Preserve.

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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