Our top 3 favorite family hikes near Bass Lake


As a young family, we know how challenging it can be to adventure with little ones. But with a little preparation and advance planning, you can get off the beaten path and out into nature without wanting to rip your hair out.

We also wrote a post with tips for hiking with kids, so click here for that.

We put together a quick list of our favorite (EASY) hiking trails to walk with kids. Trust us, even if you only get 100 feet before someone melts down, you’re bound to see something new, plant, bug, or otherwise.


  1. Lewis Creek Trail (difficulty: easy)

    Lewis Creek trail is a beautiful, gently sloping trail with plenty of shade. There are a couple areas of moderate elevation change, but nothing too strenuous. Kids over 8 will have no problem making the whole hike. Hike in 1.25 miles and be rewarded with a view of Corlieu Falls from an observation deck above the river and a great spot to stop for a picnic.

    Directions: There are two places to access this trail, one just off Highway 41 (trail is clearly marked and there is a big dirt parking lot), the second (and the one we recommend for families) is down in Cedar Valley. From Highway 41 North: Cedar Valley is about 5 miles up the road. The turnoff is clearly marked. The trailhead is down in the valley, also clearly marked, with plenty of parking.

    Note: There are certain times of year when there are TONS of tiny gnats that want to swarm your head (late summer is when we’ve noticed them). They don’t bite but are SUPER annoying. Plan on wearing bug spray or a head net (seriously). You can pick up either at the Big 5 in Oakhurst.

  2. Willow Creek Trail (difficulty: easy)

    We love this hike for it’s beautiful waterfalls and easy trail. The lower pools make for a fun swimming hole in the summer when temperatures soar.

    Directions: This trailhead is located across the road from “The Falls” day use area. The trailhead is just near the bridge, but there is a small parking area just past it with free parking (if you park in the day-use lot, you will be charged the day-use fee). DO NOT BLOCK THE DRIVEWAY AT THE BRIDGE.

    Note: Any waterfall area can be slippery and unpredictable. Use caution on this hike, especially in Spring when waters can really get flowing rather quickly. Children should ALWAYS be supervised.

  3. Bass Lake Dam Trail (difficulty: easy)

    This isn’t so much of a hike as it is a nice walk, but it offers a view of the lake that you can’t see any other way. Bonus: it’s paved the entire way, so strollers welcome!

    Directions: Park at the dam off Road 222. There is plenty of free parking. From the parking lot, walk across the dam, then keep going along the paved road until you get to road 274. This is an out-and-back walk.

    Note: Not a lot of shade on this hike, so wear sunblock and bring water if you plan on walking on a hot or sunny day.

And there you have it! Our favorite trails to hike as a family. We hope you enjoy and, as always, be prepared, keep your head up, and pack out your trash. :)

exploreKayla King