#mypubliclandsroadtrip 2016: Get outdoors Baby, King Range National Conservation Area
From our family to yours – mom and BLMer Rachel Sowards Thompson shares one of her family favorites on #mypubliclandsroadtrip!
“As a mother, I love weekends hiking or camping in the King Range National Conservation Area with my boys (ages 1 ½ and 3 ½). We also love to bring along our neighbors girls (ages 8 and 12) to add some extra adventure. The kids enjoy exploring the Bear Creek Nature Trail and playing games in their Junior Explorer activity book (available at the King Range Project Office along with the Hidden Valley Quest brochure) - great way to look for and identify new creepy crawlers in the creek.
Our favorite spot to pitch our tent and of course, roast s'mores at night is the Wailaki Campground, located along U.S. 101 to Redway, west 22 miles on Briceland/Shelter Cove Road, south 2 miles on Chemise Mountain Road. This Campground has facilities: 13 tent/trailer campsites with picnic tables, fire rings and vault toilets. There’s plenty of potable water, which make great “wa-wa” puddles for toddlers. There are no hookups for trailers. We have met so many wonderful families here over the years and as an employee for the Bureau of Land Management, it is fun to see visitors enjoying their public lands. Also, one more thing to mention, Wailaki is also wheelchair accessible.
There are trails to and from the campgrounds that lead 1.5 miles up to the top of Chemise Mountain or families can enjoy the newly developed quest in Hidden Valley that's only a couple miles down the road. The 2 mile loop trail provides beautiful views of the ocean and passes through a historic apple orchard. If you finish the quest, be sure to pick up your patch at the King Range Project Office. The Bear Creek Nature Trail is 0.5 miles between Wailaki and Nadelos Campgrounds. There are interpretive panels about Native American uses of the land along with phenology monitoring panels and notebooks for parents and kids to fill out to help the BLM monitor the seasonal changes of plants. Cross the boardwalk and find yourself on the west side of Bear Creek and a great spot for the Bear Creek Critters activity. West of the creek is a trail that twists and turns 1.5 miles to the top of Chemise Mountain where families will be rewarded with awe inspiring view of the mountains facing east and a bench to rest weary little legs.”
Photo by Rachel Sowards Thompson