Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills 12 miles east of Jackson, CA. I have to admit, when I originally learned that this park has just about 1.5 miles of trails I dismissed it and assumed a trip here would be boring. If you’ve been, you know I was completely wrong.
Why we love it: Once you get past the beginning of the North Trail (which runs alongside the main road), it’s then a lovely trail fully immersed in nature. Part of the North Trail is even ADA accessible. The North Trail leads into part of the South Trail and then a paved trail, which you can then take back to the parking lot. The park is a great place for a short and sweet hike, but you can also learn SO much from the museum and outdoor exhibits.
For the Young Ones (0-10): Hiking here is great for families with little ones. You can give them an introduction to Miwok history and there is plenty of space for them to run around outside near the Reconstructed Miwok Village and Indian Game Field. Please just make sure to watch them closely and keep them off of the grinding rock.
For the Big Kids (10+): There’s plenty to learn for big kids and adults alike in the museum, which is included in the $8/vehicle day use fee. Doing the North and South Trail, spending time in the museum, and exploring the outdoor exhibits off of the paved trail makes for a great overall family experience.
Keep in Mind:
- There’s an $8/vehicle day use fee.
- The park is open sunrise to sunset, but the museum is open just 10am-4pm.
Around the Area: Make a day trip to the area, and include Black Chasm Cavern, which is just 1.4 miles down the road.
Difficulty Level: Beginner.