June 23, 2011
- Welcome to Macaroni Kid
- Out & About: Swamp Monster Trail
- Great American Backyard Campout - June 25
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My husband loves to hike. My daughter loves to read. And, well, I like to do both! Fortunately - for all of us - there's the Swamp Monster Trail! What I would classify as the one of the best kid-friendly hikes in our area because it's easy and entertaining!
The trail starts at the Tradition Plateau Trailhead on Tiger Mountain. Take I-90 to exit 20, turn right onto the frontage road paralleling the interstate. Travel less than a mile on a very bumpy road to get to the parking lot. Actually there are a lot of great family-friendly hikes starting from this trailhead. The Swamp Monster Trail is to the right and beneath the powerlines heading downhill. There is a great wood-carved sign to mark the entrance (see photo). The hike is about a mile roundtrip.
Along the trail, you will find a series of seven storyboards which read very much like a children's book. That's probably because it was written and illustrated by middle school students. It's the story of Zoe the raccoon and a scary night she spends in the wetlands of Tiger Mountain. Zoe heads there on a dare to face her fear of a rumored swamp monster and ends up making new friends. (There's also a Parent Guide pamphlet at the start of the trail.)
The trail is clearly marked and well-maintained. The scenery is lush and green. We did encounter some wildlife ... mainly just slugs and birds, though.
Looking for the next sign, the next page in the story, was very motivating to our young hiker! After the final story sign, this trail leads to another and matches up to a loop, if I remember correctly. However we stopped at the end to eat a snack on a fallen log and then turned around. On the way back to our car, my four year old insisted we read the story backward. In all it took about 60 to 90 minutes, and we certainly were not in a hurry.
Please add this to your list of family activities ... it's FREE, fun, and educational!
Our next Out & About will feature a similar hiking experience ... called the Pretzel Tree Trail!
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