As a born and raised Californian I can say that I’ve seen my fair share of the state. I’ve swam at many beaches, played in many parks, dined at many mom-and-pop eateries, and explored many of the state and national parks that the Golden State has to offer. I’ve seen giant Redwoods on the coast, ridden roller coasters, camped on the beach, walked though dark caves, basked in hot springs, snowboarded down mountains, and walked through pitch-dark lava tubes. And now that I’m a mom I love to take my kids on these adventures with me. I want them to see all the beautiful, interesting, historical, and awe-inspiring sights and experiences that our state offers. That’s why I’m so excited to not only be sharing one of my favorite spots with you today, but I’m also excited to be teaming up with some other California moms as we share some of our top family spots in the state. Some links contain affiliates, all opinions are my own.
Hidden Falls Regional Park
I don’t remember how I first stumbled onto Hidden Falls Regional Park; it was shortly after we had moved back from Texas and I think it was one of my random “let’s pile into the car and go exploring so we can get to know our new town” excursions. I like to venture out while the husband is working to get the kids out of the house.
Hidden Falls Regional Park is a 1,200 acre park with over 30 miles of trails (currently, Placer County has plans to increase the trail network and make improvements to the park) for walking, biking, and horseback riding. Dogs on leashes are also welcome so if you have a four legged family member bring them along! As a mom I love that there are lots of looping trails so we can walk as long or as short as we want. Our favorite trail is taking the South Legacy Way trail to the Whiskey Diggins Bridge, then cutting over to either the North Legacy Way or Hidden Falls Access trail. Poppy trail is nice too and much more shaded, but with its switch backs it adds about half a mile to the hike.
My kids especially love going in late summer or early fall when water levels are low and temperatures are high so we can get in the water. You will not be able to get in the water at the base of the falls, however, there are other accessible areas where you can get in at your own discretion. We recently went there on a hike and, although it was rather chilly, the kids loved seeing the high water levels from recent rains.
I highly recommend going to Hidden Falls Regional Park with your family if you’re ever in the Auburn, California area; it is definitely a hidden gem.
Tips for enjoying your visit:
- Look up and print directions to Hidden Falls beforehand, most people do not have service in the area and it’s not uncommon for people to get lost while trying to find it.
- There are bathrooms at the parking lot as well as Porta-Potties located at different spots on the trails. The bathrooms can be seasonal so make sure to plan accordingly.
- There are water fountains at the parking lot but they are also seasonal so bring plenty of water!
- In the summer it gets quite hot, some of the trails have shade but some (especially large sections of the South Legacy Way trail, the main path to the Falls) are often in full sun. This is another good reason to have plenty of water with you, but also sunscreen and other sun protection.
- If you have little ones you’ll want to either bring a stroller with good off-road capabilities or plan to baby wear. Some of the trails (like Hidden Falls Access trail) are fairly rocky and hard to maneuver with a regular stroller.
- Arrive in the morning, especially if it’s a weekend or holiday. Not only will this allow you to explore during the cooler part of the day, but the parking lot also gets full quickly; once the lot is full there is no street parking.
- There are lots of trail markers and signs scattered around the trails, but I recommend printing out a map beforehand since they are usually out at the trail head.
- I have found that snacks are great motivators for little ones who are getting tired of walking, wink wink. That being said, if you pack it in be prepared to pack it out, whether it’s trash or animal waste.
Be sure to head over to these other California moms and check out some of their favorite spots: