Towsley Canyon Loop Trail Loop
This is moderate to difficult, depending on which trails you choose to take. BRING WATER. But also look for one of the greatest hidden features of this trail: TAR PITS. Kids absolutely love this trail because of it, and not a single sign forecasts that you will find them. (Tar pits exist about a mile in whichever way you go; you will smell them as you approach.) Watch for bees on the south end of the loop.
Park at Ed Davis Park at Towsley Canyon -- just off the 5 at "The Old Road" -- for free. You park at the very beginning of the paved road, but you can find restrooms and water toward the end of the paved portion -- near the beginning of the trail (up the hill in a brick building). Take advantage! That's the last of them.
This is an AMAZING hike for children. And that's because it has something no one or sign will even mention: TAR PITS. It's my favorite kid-friendly hike ever, actually. You probably know about the La Brea Tarpits and the associated museum in LA. This trail passes several active, bubbling tar pits that exist in their natural glory. Read up about how and why they exist (and why California is also a top oil-producing region) so that you can make it one of the best lessons for kids (and adults) of all ages. And then -- if kids are active enough -- complete the loop over the mountain range. Gorgeous views with great breezes during the summer months. Tar pits exist on both sides of the mountain at lower elevations, but the views from the top are not to be missed.
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