Hiking with kids can sometimes be a challenge. Making decisions about where to take them, how far to hike, what to bring and how to keep them interested and engaged along the trail can be tricky. A docent-led activity during the upcoming Wilderness Access Day in Bommer Canyon is designed to engage young minds while teaching adults important tips for successful family hiking.
Families are invited to register for the Exploring Bommer: All About Kids Family Hike, which will take place during Wilderness Access Day in Bommer Canyon on Saturday, June 20. The short 1.5-mile interpretive hike in the City of Irvine Open Space Preserve will take about 2 hours (out-and-back, 1 hour each direction) and is specifically designed for families with kids ages 3-6, although all ages are welcome.
Once on the trail, kids will use their new knowledge to help identify clues left behind by animals. The hike takes place on the East Fork Trail in Bommer Canyon—a trail that is only open during Wilderness Access Days and during docent-led programs. Since this trail is used more by wildlife than people, it is a great place to be on the lookout for the evidence animals leave behind. Docents will also point out insects, wildflowers, diverse plant life and striking rock outcroppings along the route.
The group will hike along East Fork Trail on the way to a beautiful shaded oak grove that is a great place to take a break before returning back. Families can also choose to continue on and hike on their own, since the activity takes place during the mostly self-guided Wilderness Access Day.
While the hike is all about kids having fun, the docent will also talk with parents about good ways to keep their young kids safe and happy during a hike. Simple rules like staying on trail and not touching plants without permission can help ensure that kids can enjoy a hiking adventure while staying safe.
The docent will also discuss other aspects of hiking with children and give tips on how to do it safely and successfully. For example, adults should remember that the lower you are to the ground, the hotter you get outside. Kids who are only a few feet tall feel the heat radiating off the ground much more than adults do. Bringing plenty of water and snacks, and avoiding sugary drinks like sodas, can ensure hikers of all ages will stay safe and have fun.
The hike will finish around lunchtime back at the shaded picnic area at Bommer Cattle Camp. Participants are invited to bring a picnic to enjoy together after returning from the family hiking adventure. Whether you want to introduce hiking to your entire family, or help them brush up on some good hiking practices, the Exploring Bommer: All About Kids Family Hike is a great opportunity.
Click here to register for the hike on June 20. There will be another “Exploring Bommer: All About Kids Family Hike” during Wilderness Access Day in Bommer Canyon on September 19. Click here to register for that hike.
Visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities to learn more about all offered programs in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Most activities are free and require pre-registration, and children under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.