Hiking Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
|4 miles||dirt, mountainous|
Another weekend, another hike…but with friends! We met at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. As a poet immersed in American culture, it’s no wonder there is so much to do here in one day. We had explored, peaked, and hiked, historic and nature-filled terrain. There’s even a TRACK trail for anyone wanting to do shorter nature hikes with interactive activities. Since we were all avid hikers, we opted for a longer trip.
Ready, set, climb!
Making our way to the trailhead was easy but we were easily distracted by the home of Carl Sandburg which sits upon a hill which you can see in the distance. Historic plaques and features greeted us as soon as we walked in. The beautiful Front Lake is hard to not miss. We decided we wanted to go to Glassy Mountain which if we made it a loop trip with a stop at the goat farm, about 4 miles. (Not counting the many side stops for snacks, water, and toddlerdom). For this trip, both our families used carriers so we could go longer miles with our 1 and 3-year-olds. We veered left to the sign that pointed to Big Glassy Mt Trail. The trail was steadily climbing up through various switchbacks covered in the last remnants of Winter. The last climb ended up being about 1.5 miles to get to the top–no easy feat for small children, but with trail games and endless movie talk, anything is possible.
Peak viewing and snack time
This particular day was freezing. Once we made it to the top of Glassy Mountain we hung out to admire the tree-lined views and rock formations. The mountain was open so we chose some sunken craters to sit in while the kids ran around and explored a bit. I took notice of some of the moss-covered rocks and flora on the outskirts of the mountain. I had promised the kids a treat for making it the top and truth be told I may use this tactic too much but sometimes making it to the top of a mountain to take a moment is totally worth the small joys of a child enjoying a lollipop quietly.
The goat farm
Taking a detour on the way back is this wonderful farm where kids can pet and feed goats. Another incentive to get tired, cold kids to hike happily along to their next destination. There’s a man-made trout pond before reaching the farm. The gates are easy to get in and out and rangers were visible inside the barn speaking to hikers and visitors alike. We made our way exploring on our own and making sure the kids didn’t chase any of them. It was really fun feeding them grass and admiring another modest pond surrounded by old rocks stacked and some crumbled which looked like an old bridge at one point.
Passing the goat farm there are restrooms (heated!) and just a little further you’ll come to the other side of Front Lake where we originally started and came to an end of our circuitous loop. This was such a great trip for families with small children–just easy enough if you can hike a longer distance and make room for the various stops along the way. You won’t regret it and we will definitely come back to explore more of the TRACK trails features and the home of Carl Sandburg. The entrance has ample parking space and admission is FREE but there is a fee to tour the home.
Post-trip, kid-friendly brewery stop: Sanctuary Brewery
Warm dinner, full belly: Red Ginger Pho Noodle Bar