Man About Menifee: There's Nothing Like a Good Hike

By David Baker

Most parents will tell you that Art Linkletter had it right. Kids really do say the darndest things.

For his fourth birthday, I told Jeremiah that we could do anything he wanted. I figured what was the worst that he could ask for, Chuck-E-Cheese’s? You name it kid, you got it. He came back with a very surprising answer: “I want to climb a mountain.”

To be fair, I really shouldn’t have been too surprised. My kids have been doing things outdoors with the scouts literally since they were born. Alexandra’s first public outing was the Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet when she was only three days old. Jeremiah was out camping when he was just a few weeks old.

So I kept my promise to him and on my next day off, we got up super early, packed trail mix, water, and granola bars and took off for a popular hiking trail/service road where we lived at the time and walked the 1.5 miles to the top. I figured I would be carrying a very tired little boy back down, but he held his own. He bounced and skipped his way up and plodded his way down like a champ.

That was the beginning of a tradition for us. Wherever we went, whether we moved or were just visiting, we looked for new, interesting hiking trails.

When we started Pack 374 here in Menifee, one of the first things I did was start asking around for local hiking trails. One parent said we should try Santa Rosa Plateau. It has many different hiking, bicycling, and horse riding trails. Some are even dog friendly. It’s not a bad drive either -- right off the I15 and Clinton Keith Road, about 5 minutes west. The visitor’s center is on the left.

They have a nice little museum there where kids can see examples of local wildlife, and how people lived in the area about 100 years ago. Of course my kids’ favorite part of the exhibit was the scat (a.k.a. animal poop) collection. There’s even a “Scat Game” handout so kids can look for and identify scat while on the trail.

For the older, more seasoned hiker, there is even a 5-mile round trip hike in to the Adobe Houses -- restored historical houses from more than a century ago.

A trip to the Plateau is very low cost and a fun way to enjoy a weekend outdoors with your family. Admission to the parks is $3 for adults and $2 for kids 2-12 years old. For more information, including directions, check out the Riverside County Parks page here.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments here for him or email him at


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