HEAPS PEAK ARBORETUM
With a five year old in tow, we try to go to outdoor locations that will allow him to run free in safety. Developing a hiker in a small child requires patience. The Heaps Peak Arboretum features a display of wildlife and demonstration gardens that are interesting to our older crowd as well as intrigued our little one. The main attraction for both boys is the Sequoia Trail. This time around the little one wanted to read each sign and discover the items that the sign was describing. This lasted for the majority of the hike but I can imagine that it might not go over so well depending on the personality of the children. Some Eagle Scout might have a great time making an App for the trial so that families could engage in slightly different ways. The trail also got really crowded at times which created lines at the signs which we were not willing to wait in. (Think Disneyland)
There were many key features we enjoyed about this hiking opportunity. The ease of the trail was amazing, easy on everyone. Carrying a 34 pound child was never necessary. I saw many people using strollers and many parties had multiple generations doing the hike together. The variety of what you see is also worth the trip. All types of trees and views of places that are breathtaking. We were there at the tail end of summer but I can imagine that the foot bridges going over running streams in the Winter and Spring would be amazing. There were spots of great shade and some areas of the trail that were out in the open. I started off wearing a sweater and had to put it around my waist for other portions of the hike.
We packed a lunch and ate it under the pine trees near the entrance. Many of the hikers bring dogs but most everyone had them on leashes so they didn’t pose any issues with our family. I can imagine that if you were there during low attendance you’d have some peace and quiet and see many birds and other wildlife. A weekday hike might be just the key - the trail is open year around.
The favorite for our family was the Giant Sequoias. We were able to stop a moment and enjoy their grandeur on one of the many benches throughout the trail.
I highly recommend this as a quick hike to and from the other many attractions in the local mountains. We spent the greater second half of our day enjoying Green Valley Lake but many other places are an easy drive. Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Gregory, etc.
COST: $5 for a Adventure Pass (pay cash in the self-pay or on weekends the info booth is open from mid morning to early afternoon (check site for details)
RESTROOMS: Why yes, they do have clean pit toilets.
LOCATION: San Bernardino National Forest, right off Highway 18 between Crestline and Running Springs