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Guide book lists best hikes for kids

The Mountaineers Books' recent release, "Best Hikes with Kids - Oregon," comes just as parents are planning local outings and vacations for the summer.

But author Bonnie Henderson describes few hikes in Southern Oregon, and when she does, they tend to be ones that are already familiar to locals.

The Grizzly Peak trail on the mountain north of Ashland offers views of the Rogue Valley as well as a look at a forest recovering from the 2002 Antelope Fire.

The Upper Table Rock hike northwest of Medford also offers panoramic views, along with blooms of wildflowers in the spring.

Going further afield, kids and parents can traverse steep cliffs above the wild Rogue River on the Rainie Falls trail northwest of Grants Pass. Go during a salmon run and catch an unforgettable look at fish leaping mightily in an effort to top the 15 to 20 foot-tall falls.

There's more than underground caves to see at the Oregon Caves National Monument south of Grants Pass, Henderson reminds readers. The Big Tree Loop takes hikers to a Douglas fir that is more than a dozen feet in diameter.

The book's strengths come with its descriptions of hikes in Central Oregon, along the middle and northern Oregon coasts and in the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood area. That makes it a better guide for parents planning more distant vacations.

Henderson lists a variety of coastal hikes, walks to waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge and several hikes around Mt. Hood. A vacation that mixes the urban pleasures of Portland with a day hike in outlying areas would be easy to plan using this guide.

She includes more than a dozen hikes in Central Oregon. A welcome inclusion for parents with children of varying ages or fitness levels is Henderson's descriptions of two hikes at Smith Rock State Park north of Bend. One trail with sheer drop-offs climbs steeply to the top of the rocky pinnacles, while another is relatively flat and follows the curves of Crooked River at the base.

Information boxes are scattered throughout the book on subjects like sun safety, the importance of adequate hydration, Native American use of obsidian and measures humans are taking on coastal lands to protect the snowy plover.

Henderson has also listed her picks for the best hikes to see waterfalls, best summit hikes, best hikes to old growth forests and big trees, best hikes to a brisk swim, weirdest hikes and other categories.

She offers tips for hiking with kids that bear repeating, such as leave electronic games at home and don't confuse family hikes with adult work-outs.

A trade paperback, "Best Hikes with Kids - Oregon" is priced at $16.95.

Staff writer can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com. To post an on-line comment, visit .