It’s been a while since my last Wanderlust Wednesday post! Today I’m sharing one of our family’s favorite lesser-known trails, Trappist Abbey in Carlton. We love this family-friendly hike near Newberg for the beautiful country landscape, views of wine country, and great mix of forest trails and oak savannahs. My husband’s from the northern California forest and loves the forest trails, I’m from Sacramento where there are beautiful oak savannahs in the foothills, so this is a perfect trail to remind both of us of home!
This hike definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s so beautiful, but there is some elevation gain. It’s also generously hosted by the monastic community at Trappist Abbey. Their church and living quarters are all on this property, so hikers are asked to be quiet and respectful during their hike. Dogs are not allowed. There are a few more rules posted at the trailhead and on their website here. I worried about bringing my kids to this trail–they’re both in the phase where there is pretty much non-stop talking, but it was a great opportunity to talk with them beforehand about the people who live here and why it can be nice to, you know…enjoy the peacefulness of nature. We had a great time, the kids used relatively quiet voices, and we even did some birdwatching!
If you go, you have a choice of four trail loops. These all head up the hill, so you might want to factor that in to your decision. We normally do the Monk’s Trail, which is the very first loop, and it’s a pretty decent workout for me and about as far as the kids can go. It’s about a mile and a half. From the trailhead sign, we generally start by going to the left side, straight up the hill. Get the tough stuff out of the way first, right? It will take you up through the savannah first. If you go to the right, it’s a gentler incline over a longer stretch, first past a great view of wine country, and then through the forest before hitting the savannah and coming back down the hill.
The trails are open seasonally, and will close for inclement weather or after a big storm for cleanup. Check their website or Facebook page before you go. If you’re headed there in the fall or after a heavy rain, wear boots! Some of the trails can get a bit muddy. And don’t forget your sunscreen–there are several stretches that are out in full sun.
I love this trail–if you try it too, let me know how it went for you!