Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Old Sauk River Trail Hike

kids hiking, shady summer hikes
Kids along the Old Sauk River Trail

Some trails hold a fond place in our hearts, as we have pleasant memories. Or perhaps the trails are unique and make us feel something special. For me, Old Sauk is like that. Meandering along the Sauk River, this gentle trail leads through mature forest. It feels a lot like old growth, even though it was logged at one point. It’s shady, green, mossy, and peaceful. The first time I went there was several years ago with a group of friends and our young children. One of those families has since traveled around the world, and they are back in town for a visit, so yesterday was the perfect time to revisit. There have been some improvements to the trail, including the creation of an ADA accessible interpretive loop.

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Part of Improved Trail

But most of the trail is narrow, soft with duff, as it winds through huge trees and thick undergrowth. It never gets too far from the Sauk River, until the very south end where it veers toward the road and ends abruptly at Murphy Creek. On this day we began at the new trailhead, close to the center of the 3-mile length. We walked south first, and Murphy Creek was the perfect place to stop for lunch and a rest.

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A Nice Place to Eat Lunch

Owen and the kids marveled at the rich and varied geological samples found in the rocks of the creek.

geology, sauk river
Metamorphic Rock

The kids found a toad and threw rocks to make big splashes.

kids in nature, old sauk river
Everyone Wanted a Look Before we Put it Back

Then we walked north, almost to the other trailhead, where we found a place to play next to the river.

kids in nature, old sauk river
Water, Mud, Sticks and Rocks – All You Need to Play
kids in nature, hiking with children, nature play
Mud Bridge
kids in nature, old sauk river trail
Mud Gatherer

Most wildflowers were done blooming, but the huckleberries (both red and blue) were abundant, and we enjoyed their sour-sweet refreshment.

kids in nature, edible berries, old sauk river
Picking Huckleberries

Bugs weren’t too bad; I think we came away with a few mosquito bites, and there were some hungry horse flies. The trail is in excellent shape, and the new 1-mile interpretive loop looked interesting. We stuck with the main trail, and didn’t complete the westernmost portion of the loop. It would be a great option for young children or parents with strollers. It was the perfect trail choice for a hot day; it’s shady and there are several places to get down to the river to play (at least at times when the water is low.) It was so nice to have the day with our friends, and to take home more memories of this wonderful place.

old suak river trail
The Crew at the Trailhead
old sauk river trail, kids in nature
Time to Sit and Reflect
kids in nature, old sauk river trail
Fallen Giant

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