One of our goals this summer was to take our son to see a lighthouse. There are a few in the Bay Area, but my favorite has always been the Point Reyes Lighthouse (see my post from yesterday: “Point Reyes Lighthouse“). My husband and I wanted to slip in a short hike during the outing to expend some energy after the long (to our son) drive from the East Bay. My favorite hikes in the Point Reyes area are WAY too long to do with a little kid, so I had to do some research to find something more appropriate in length and interest. Plus we had to do something short enough to conserve his energy for the walk down to (and up from!) the lighthouse and a promised game of frisbee at Drakes Beach.
I decided we would walk the Kule Loklo Trail, a short, flat 0.8 mile round-trip hike to a recreated Coast Miwok Indian village. And I’m glad we did… this was fun! My son was excited to check out the structures in the village, but also had a great time looking at things along the trail (mostly birds and insects, but also acorns and sticks). The village itself has quite a few “houses” open to exploration (5, 6? I didn’t count!), and a round house that is only open to those with a ranger-led program. We also enjoyed exploring the lovely Indian Plant Garden, an enclosed garden showcasing plants utilized by the Coast Miwok.
We’ve seen grinding stones before, but, for some reason, they were more interesting to my son today than in the past. We explained to him that a staple of the Miwok diet was acorns, which they ground up to make bread, soup, and paste (we’d picked up a copy of the Point Reyes Junior Ranger Program Booklet, so we had lots of information on the subject). He found the grinding stones, and immediately went to work trying to figure out how to grind some acorns. After five minutes or so of grinding, he’d made us some “soup”. I love pretend play at this age!
To learn more about the Coast Miwok, check out this NPS article: Coast Miwok at Point Reyes
Interested in going? Park in the lot for the Bear Valley Visitor Center, located just off Bear Valley Road. The trail head is about 100 yards north of the Visitor Center. Enjoy the almost half-mile walk to the village, stopping to read the interpretive signs. Explore the site and, if desired, enjoy a packed lunch at one of the many shade-covered picnic tables. Return via the same route.
Be sure to check out the Visitor Center while you’re here! This one is better than most, with great exhibits showcasing the wildlife of the region. Don’t miss the touch table.
For additional information, visit the Point Reyes National Seashore website: www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm
And, by the way, this hike is clearly not just for kids. This would be interesting for visitors of all ages. Enjoy!
Other posts from our trip to Point Reyes: