As I’ve said before, there is no place with as much accessible nature than Southern California. We have tackled beach camping, an adventurous snow day, and now we welcome Spring. I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than with a family hiking day.
We have had a pretty constant rainfall and/or low temperatures for most of our winter. On one hand, this has made it pretty tricky to get the kiddo outside. On the other hand, it has made the surrounding areas lush with deep greens and bright flowers. Our state flower in California, the poppy, explodes with bright oranges, yellows and reds in this area and it’s truly beautiful. For our first hike of the Spring, we decided to tackle a family favorite – Stoney Point in Los Angeles.
A Family Landmark
We have always loved hiking at Stoney Point. A towering rock area at the northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, easily accessible from the 118 Freeway and Topanga Canyon Blvd. The park has a colorful history with our little family. It was the place I took my wife for our first date and returned to when I proposed to her ten months later. Additionally, it was the first place my dad ever took me rock climbing and the first place I ever brought my daughter to hike. It’s just a special little place for us.
Climbing Adventures for All Skill Levels
A great hike year-round, it also has awesome natural rock structures that are perfect for learning or mastering rock climbing. Stoney Point has easier rocks that start at around eight feet, all the way up to enormous stones that tower over 30 feet above you.
No matter the season, you’ll always find climbers, large and small group classes and natural adventurers taking their turn at the thrills of Stoney Point.
I have taken several repelling classes here; thinking I could pick it up easily after having learned it in the Army years before. Thankfully, it was kind of like riding a bicycle. Once I had the harness on, it came back to me pretty quickly. I’ve enjoyed climbing here several times. I’ve gone solo, with classes, and with friends who were more experienced than me. The climbing community really thrives and unites at this park.
One of the reasons Stoney Point is so popular is the skill-level variety it presents. There are rocks that are called “outer stones” (like the one pictured above). These lay scattered around the base and allow for easy climbing from the ground. Then there are stones called “inner stones” (like the one pictured below) that require hiking “into” Stoney Point and do not start on level ground. I have found that I prefer the inner stones as they offer more challenges. All options offer great activities for climbers of every skill level.
On this particular Sunday, we decided to forego the climbing and head straight to the trails. Our young daughter loves the challenges of the hiking trails here. They all involve at least a little climbing, squeezing, scurrying or jumping. You can choose from increased difficulty trails that consist of more natural obstacles, or a more basic walking trail. These wrap through and around the boulders of Stoney Point and don’t require extra activity beyond walking.
For our trip, kiddo chose a narrow path through large split boulders. This opened up to a wide canyon which required some creative trailblazing through overgrown greenery. The hike as a whole took about an hour and a half from base to summit. Once you reach the summit, you are greeted by a breathtaking view of most of the legendary San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. After some family meditation at the top landing, it took about twenty minutes to get back down, which is much easier than getting up.
Nature Reminds Us Not To Let Life Stress You Out
It is easy to get emotionally, spiritually and physically stressed out. Often we find ourselves overwhelmed with the demands of the 9 to 5 and all that comes with it. For our family, these outings are the remedy to that stress. In a world where we haven’t completely evolved into a healthy work-life balance like some of our European brothers and sisters, we need escapes like this to recharge the batteries of our souls. There simply is nothing like the feeling of reconnecting with nature and sharing the importance of that connection with your child.
Watching my six-year-old girl take on obstacles with such determination and commitment is inspiring. We love watching her call out the various plant and animal life, and even dangers along the trail (this time she found a small California Kingsnake). How much joy it brings her to participate in the living world around her is a profound bliss that we welcome on our weekends.
Sometimes nature gives us reminders of the smallness of the stresses when compared to the enormity of the world around us. While on our hike, we came across artwork painted along one of the base stones that read “so what.” We took a small moment as a family to remember and verbalize “so what” that we have our stresses, they don’t change our ability to escape them.
That’s all for this trip. Happy Camping Everyone!