Today we drove up to the top of Lookout Mountain for a morning of family hiking at the nature center. I was shocked at the number of cyclist going up this very steep and curvy road. There’s an amazing viewing area toward the top of Lookout Mountain Road where you can see the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the distance. If you turn around to face East on a clear day, you can see the downtown Denver skyline. It’s definitely worth the 20 minute scenic drive! Just don’t plan on dragging your RV up there. There are many switch-backs with hairpin turns.
The Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve sits on the top of Lookout Mountain and has family-friendly trails. Unfortunately, the actual nature center building was closed on Mondays, so we weren’t able to see what was inside. But they had plenty of educational signs all along the trails to help you identify indigenous flora and fauna. It turns out my son is a naturalist at heart. He did not want to be carried, but much preferred to hike on his own so he could stop and inspect the flowers and bugs he spied along the trail.
Our daughter, on the other hand, much preferred riding in the backpack carrier. I think she was frightened when we saw a doe a the trailhead. She shrieked, “it’s going to get me!” And refused to walk for quite some time for fear the deer would come after her. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. Later, we saw the same doe with a little, bounding fawn. I told Abby that it was a momma deer and that she was caring for her baby. That seemed to calm her down and she agreed to walk a bit by herself. I dare not mention to her that the mountain lions and bears are what we should really fear out here.
Hiking with kiddos is slow business, but I don’t mind. We probably hiked for about a mile and a half and that was plenty for everybody. Going slow along the trail actually made me stop and notice more of the little things, especially the flowers my son was so interested in touching… and eating. I love to see my kids enjoying nature and learning about the world around them. Sometimes I wish they were older so we could “do more.” But then I remember that this time is precious too. There will be plenty of time to enjoy big kid activities. For now, I’m trying to savor the innocence of toddlerhood, where everything to them is brand-new and full of wonder.