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A Guide to Hiking the Bay Area


Hiking the Bay Area: Hiking with Kids
Plenty of short, relatively easy trails make it possible to enjoy hiking with kids in the Bay Area.
Plenty of short, relatively easy trails make it possible to enjoy hiking with kids in the Bay Area.
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Hiking is a great family activity, and with the Bay Area's innumerable trails, it's easy to find hikes appropriate for even the youngest of kids. There are also plenty of trails in parks that include nature centers, wildlife habitat areas with native animals, picnic facilities and other amenities aimed at children.

Here are some of the more popular family-oriented trails [source: Bay Area Hiker]:

  • Jewel Lake Natural Trail. Tame enough for toddlers, this Berkeley trail features 750 feet (229 meters) of boardwalk that meander through the woods. Jewel Lake is part of the Tilden Nature Area, which also contains the Little Farm, where kids can see cows, sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens, among other animals [source: Rutledge].
  • Tennessee Valley Trail. This level trail is less than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) long and winds through hilly terrain before depositing you at Tennessee Beach. You're apt to see plenty of wildlife during your trek, such as raptors, deer, coyote and maybe even bobcats, and in spring, the wildflowers are amazing [sources: Rutledge, National Park Service].
  • Land's End Coastal Trail. Situated right in San Francisco, this coastal trail seems so wild, with its windswept cypress trees, crashing surf and barking seals, you'd never know millions of people are close by. Although the Coastal Trail is 11 miles (18 kilometers), it's not contiguous; there's a family-friendly 3.5-mile (5.6-kilometer) loop that's easy to hike [source: Rutledge].

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