How do you entice kids to go hiking? Tell them they are going to see the biggest jack-o-lantern ever.
The trailhead for Pumpkin Rock is located about an hour from Los Angeles in the city of Norco. It feels farther away than that, even back in time, because “the city of horses” is still a place where people tie up their horses to go to a saloon.
We arrived at Pikes Peak Park, were we parked and put on our backpacks of all sizes. The hike starts by going uphill on a horse path to the entrance to the trail. You can see the pumpkin from the bottom so it’s a good goal to have in sight.
Along the way we saw a family with all members wearing matching pumpkin t-shirts—cool! Then, another family with three children under the age of 6. Happy to see so many people hiking with their kids. Kids feel better seeing other kids hiking too, chatting them up.
Some other interesting surprises we found along the way to see the Pumpkin were metal horse sculptures and a solar-powered U.S.A. sign, which led to interesting discussion that didn’t include “are we there yet”.
Pushing up the last steep climb, you (and the kids) realize it is a really big Jack-O-Lantern. From the top, you are rewarded not only with the Instagram-worthy giant pumpkin, but also with a great view of two valleys. We look around and it seems like all of us had the same mission, to get to Pumpkin Rock!
Maybe Pumpkin Rock is what introduces your youngster to hiking. Maybe for others, having this goal is what gets them off the couch and into the outdoors. Hiking with kids is not scary as long as you keep it fun, short and interesting. Despite the motivations, Pumpkin Rock is a must-do family hike, especially leading up to spooky celebrations.