Near Cool, California is a hike our family really enjoyed, the Black Hole of Calcutta Falls hike. At just over 2 miles, our 4 year-old easily completed the hike entirely on his own, and even took a side trail to get down to the river to – what else – throw rocks.
Why we love it: There was no need to be on the lookout for trail markers or signs once we started on the trail – it’s as simple as just following the trail to the falls! Our preschooler loves all water – lakes, rivers, falls – and we all really enjoyed putting our feet in the river and throwing rocks at the end of our hike and before heading back to the car.
For the Young Ones (ages 0-10): Little ones can feel like they “really’ did a hike, since you’re “going in” and “coming out.” There are a few narrow areas of the trail where you’ll need to keep an eye on small children (and on the quarry bridge), but for the most part it’s easy going.
For the Big Kids (age 10+): Who doesn’t love a waterfall? In addition, big kids will enjoy taking some of the side trails off of the main trail. During warmer months, big kids love taking a nice cool dip in the river.
Keep In Mind:
- Parking is limited. Your best bet is to start your day plenty early!
- Horses with riders sometimes take this path. Make sure family members understand that horse can get spooked and that it’s important to avoid this, as well as allow them plenty of room.
- The trail isn’t particularly challenging, but there are many spots where it’s too narrow for a stroller.
- This blog post is only about hiking to the waterfall and back. While the path continues past the waterfall, we’ve never ventured past the waterfall.
- Take extra precaution if your party chooses to cross to the other side of the waterfall, especially with little ones.
Difficulty Level: Beginner to Moderate. I wouldn’t recommend it as a family’s very first hike, but if you’ve hiked a handful of times, the family is probably ready for this hike.