A moderately paced, 3.5-mile hike on the fourth Sunday of each month (9 a.m. to noon) lets overworked parents unwind while youngsters boulder-hop and splash through myriad imagination-inspiring streams.
Another option is the Junior Nature Trail, a half-mile walk designed specifically for small children. Between sightings of yucca, sumac and scalebroom, little ones—as they skip along—may imagine what prickly pear ice cream would taste like, while parents saunter, yearning to have the “coffee” of the coffeeberry plant roasted, ground and served to them over ice. Everyone anticipates sightings of rabbits, lizards and snakes (oh, my).
On the educational side of life, the Fire Ecology Trail leads through the area that burned in the brush fire of 1993. It exemplifies nature’s wondrous ability for re-growth and recovery. The majority of the low, scrubby plants adapt to the hot, dry summer months by losing their leaves to reduce stress (we want to sign up for that fitness program). How can you not pique the interest of your child by invoking the teaser, “Let’s go see some Flat-Topped Buckwheat!” Is it a genre of G.I. Joe doll, a breakfast cereal or a spin-off of the “Little Rascals“? Hike the trail; let us know…
Eaton Canyon Nature Park
1750 N. Altadena Dr., Pasadena
Complimentary trail guides available in the Nature Center (open daily 9-5, except Mondays and holidays).
Park open sunrise to sunset.