Easy Kid Hike – Exploring The Braille Trail
Last week, we tried a hike in Genesee that was a little different.
It had the same amazing views we’ve come to expect, living here in Colorado. Honestly, one of my favorite things about where we live is that you don’t have to drive far at all to feel like you’re in the middle of the mountains. In twenty minutes, we’re in the foothills among forests and streams and the beginnings of the Rockies (and bears! I hear there are bears. So far we’ve been lucky and haven’t encountered any).
But the Braille trail is unique because it’s designed to accommodate the visually impaired.
There’s a guide rope to hold and follow. There used to be Braille signs along the way, talking about different wildlife and parts of the trail, but someone stole those (whyeee? So stupid.) last summer. However, it is still a beautiful trail and worth checking out.
The majority of the Braille trail wanders through shady areas, with plenty of greenery and trees, and a small creek that may have water (it had a tiny bit when we were there!). It does meander downhill, which means you have to tackle your uphill at the end. We packed our lunch and ate at a bench on a small bridge along the path. I also find that if you save a little treat for the end, it helps motivate everyone back up the hill! (yep – I’m not above bribing my kids to hike with me)
Since it was a hike designed to accommodate people who are visually impaired, we talked a little about that, too. What sorts of things would you notice on a hike if you couldn’t see? Would you notice more noises? Smells? The way things feel? The kids tried part of the hike blindfolded, to get just a small glimpse of what it would be like to hike without seeing everything. I think it was a good exercise to get them thinking about the senses they take for granted.
To access the Braille Trail:
From Denver, take I-70 west toward Genesee. Exit on Chief Hosa Rd. and turn right. Make the next right onto Stapleton Dr (it’s a dirt road), and follow it past the Buffalo viewing area to the trailhead parking lot. To hike – begin on the Beaver Brook Trail and follow signs for Chavez Trail. You’ll see the sign for the Braille Trail about 1/2 mile from the trailhead. The trail is a 0.7 mile loop, with a bench about 3/4 of the way along that has views of the Continental Divide.
Tips for hiking:
-bring plenty of water! There are pit toilets at the parking lot, but no running water
-dogs are allowed on leashes, as long as you pick up after them
-the trail is short but parts of it are slightly steep. You’ll want to plan for plenty of breaks for tired kids!
-you can find a little more information on the trail here. It’s a good one for a younger Girl or Boy Scout outing as well.