5 Family-Friendly Hikes in Clark County
The Pacific Northwest is known far and wide for its lush green flora, crisp fresh air, and scenic mountain views: the perfect environment for enjoying the gifts of the natural world. Children, especially, benefit from proximity to this wonder. “Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses,” author Richard Louv writes in his 2008 book, “Last Child in the Woods” (Algonquin Books). “Given a chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it in the creek, turn it over to see what lives on the unseen side of that confusion.” A simple walk or hike can present children with that chance to discover the “unseen side of confusion.” And hiking trails abound here in Southwest Washington. From Mount St. Helens to the Columbia River Gorge, and even a leg of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), views of the Cascade Mountain Range and abundant waterways are plentiful. Some of the most popular nearby hikes pose significant hazards or inconveniences for families with young children, posing a challenge to parents who want to prevent what Louv calls “nature-deficit disorder.” However, many trails and paths right within Clark County are in fact easy, comfortable and safe for kids, and inviting for families of all ages. Here are a few of my favorites.
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