There is nothing quite like being out in nature. The smells of the canyons the sounds of the wind in the grasses and trees. Being outside away from the computer, your phone, the television... it really does refresh you.
For the past few years our family has gotten really into hiking and discovering new trails to explore with our kids. Being out in nature and having a little adventure is one of my boys favorite things to do. Climbing on rocks, looking at bugs and lizards and finding caves are all things that equal up to kid paradise.
Here is a short list of a few of our favorite California hikes and a few we are looking forward to trying. Most of these options are family friendly, meaning our 5 year old can pretty much walk on his own (With a short biggie back ride from Daddy here and there).
1. SANTIAGO OAKS REGIONAL PARK-
2145 N. Windes Drive
Orange, CA 92869
Why we love it: Besides being super lush (when we have enough rain) and beautiful, we love Santiago Canyon because we can bring our dog! This 1,269-acre Santiago Oaks Regional Park is a nature lover’s paradise. Hiking, biking and equestrian friendly this park has tons of trails to choose from ranging from super easy to nice and long. On mother's day we spotted a beautiful mule deer from on of the hills and were able to just sit and watch her from above. It was beautiful!
2. Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park-
28373 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Why we love it: Seriously one of the coolest hikes we have been on. A little long for our littlest, but so worth it when we came to the cave rock! We did see a rattlesnake just off the trail , but it was dead... A good reminder to be careful, they are there.
Approximately 4,500 acres of wilderness and natural open space land. Originally, part of the Juaneno or Acajchemem tribal land, it later was owned by Don Juan Avila, Louis Moulton, The Mission Viejo Company and now is under the jurisdiction of OC Parks. Within the park lands are mature oaks, sycamores, and elderberry trees, two year round streams and over 30 miles of official trails.
3. Paramount Ranch - Western Town
2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Now this is a hike/nature walk that we haven't tried yet but I am dying to because I think my boys will flip. Bought by Paramount Pictures in 1927 and used as a film location for westerns. Several stars filmed at the ranch including actors Bob Hope, Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert, and director Cecil B. Demille. Films such as The Maid of Salem (1937), The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938), and Ebb Tide (1937) were filmed here.
A short hike from the parking lot, you can bring your dogs here as long as they stay on the trail and on leash. What a great combo of two things we love.. Nature and old Hollywood fun.
4. Murphy Ranch-
Sullivan Fire Rd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
As someone who grew up in Los Angeles... Hanging out in Topanga Canyon and the Palisades with kids that did graffiti, I can not believe I have never been here. Maybe I was too busy watching My So Called Life.
Murphy Ranch was brought up twice to us in the past two weeks by our really cool friends who were telling us all about it.
Here is some info we pulled off of Los Angeles Trails on HikeSpeak.com
In the 1930s Nazi sympathizers built a refuge in the Pacific Palisades. Herr Schmidt, Winona and Norman Stephens, and their followers occupied a self-contained stronghold in what is now Rustic Canyon between Sullivan Ridge and Will Rodgers State Park. Murphy Ranch was designed to serve as a hold out for fans of the Third Reich waiting for America to fall to the Nazis. Instead, the ranch was raided by U.S. authorities and closed in 1941. The abandoned buildings were transformed into an artists’ colony in the 60s and 70s, but were abandoned after the Mandeville Canyon Fire in 1978. Today the grounds of Murphy Ranch are uninhabited, dilapidated, and covered in graffiti. While much of the history is lost, several structures remain, along with long cement staircases that still link Murphy Ranch to Sullivan Ridge Fire Road, providing a 3.85-mile hike with 325 feet of elevation gain.
Now the rumors are the remains of the building were demolished this Spring and that sucks,because we may never get to see this incredible and crazy place. I feel like it would still be worth it to go and check it out and see where it used to be.
We hope you get up and get out with your loved ones this summer! We live in a beautiful place, lets use it.
Share your favorite hiking spots with us in the comments section.