I could not pass up an opportunity to see a local Redwoods grove. I have heard about this trail over the years but I have never been on it. When I was researching how to get to the trail head, I read a number of blog posts and articles about this trail but no one really had a clear description of how to find the trail head.
The trail starts on the far east side of Carbon Canyon Regional Park. When you go into the park entrance turn left and follow the road past all the great play equipment (this was torture for our boys since we weren’t stopping here) and tennis courts. Just before the gate to leave the park turn right and park in the good-sized parking lot (room for at least 25 cars). Then walk east, about 500 ft, through some maintained grounds with trees, some benches and a wide wood chipped path.
This trail is well-marked, very flat and wide and shared with bikers, horses, runners and hikers. Please keep your ears open for bikers especially and stay to the right side of the trail when possible. It is a 1 mile walk to the Redwoods Grove. 2 miles round-trip.
We started walking around 8:30 am on a Saturday morning, the trail was shady and there wasn’t a lot of traffic on the trail. We did see a few bikers, a good number of runners and a few other hikers. I would recommend walking this trail in the early morning when it is shady. The direct sun would make this walk not as enjoyable.
Within moments of starting the trail my boys were already collecting sticks and into the hike. This was the first time L asked to carry some supplies in his backpack. I could tell he felt like he was really contributing to the hike.
Whenever there is any doubt about where to find the trail, there is always one of these adorable large signs pointing you in the right direction.
My boys don’t stop talking when they are hiking. It is unbelievable actually, the conversation moves so fluidly from trail tracks to birds nests, from Star Wars Episodes to how far is a mile again.
I was most surprised to find this commonality between L and I. He doesn’t like it when he doesn’t know where we are going, just like me. If I am on a trail, no matter how short or long it is, I can’t just walk and enjoy myself very often. Not long after I start the hike I want to know how far it is, when are we going to take a break, do I have to climb any hills. I want to know everything involved with the trail and all hiking expectations. He is the same.
When I told him I could totally relate, well, I actually said “does it feel difficult to walk forward because you don’t know where you are going?” His eyes brightened and his shoulders dropped a little, he said “Yes.” I know he found comfort in the understanding that I feel the same way. From my perspective I felt full of happiness that we could connect in this way. It gave me perspective that this is where his “I can’t walk anymore, where are we going, how much farther, I am SO hungry” continual demands were coming from. When we bonded in our similarity his demands were a little less and he even held my hand for a short time too. This was really special.
This sign marks about 3/4 of the way to the grove. At this point C needed a ride for a bit and L was hungry and losing patience with my husband and I continuing to say “we are almost there”. My husband pulled out the light sabers just around the corner and my boys discovered a second wind.
They started running when we all noticed the tall trees in the distance. It is a strange sight, their tall pointed tops sticking out above the surrounding landscape. I was so curious to see them up close.
The grove did not disappoint. The light was magnificent, the ground felt exactly like it should and my boys ran through the woods with light sabers in hand perfectly embraced by the canopy of trees.
It takes about 5 minutes to walk the length of the grove (planted in 1975), it is only about 100 ft wide. But when you are in the middle of it, you feel transported somewhere else. The wind moves differently through the branches, the light is subtle and enchanting, it sounds quieter with your footsteps muffled by the ground cover.
We sat (my husband laid down) under this tree for at least half an hour. The boys ran around the woods and my husband and I just sat silently and breathed in as much deep filling air as we could. It felt incredible.
We ate a snack, the boys inhaled practically every snack I packed. I forgot how hungry they get when they are walking. We shared some great family moments, enjoyed this tree for a bit longer and then walked back to the car.
Just on the edge of the grove L found this sweetly painted flower. He made sure I understood it was a map offering instructions on how to get back to our car. I love his observation and endless imagination.
We promised the boys we would stop at the slides on the way out of the park. They were so excited when we pulled in to a parking space just above the play structure.
We successfully walked 2 miles together. L carried his full backpack for about half of the trip. We learned some insightful information about L and how he responds to an unknown trail. C was a trooper and walked most of the way himself. I am not sure how we are going to pack enough food for everyone on our first backpacking trip. I can’t believe how much food my boys eat on the trail. When we got home we fixed a full lunch and they ate everything on their plates…we are in trouble.
Overall this was a great hike and I can’t wait to go back. It is a very kid friendly trail with a great pay off at the end.