Tam-A-Lau Trail (Cove Palisades State Park)

During our camping trip at the Cove Palisades, we set aside a morning to take a family hike. Connor has been dying to climb a mountain, so we decided to hike up to the top of the plateau via the Tam-A-Lau Trail.


Cory dropped the kids and I off at the trail-head in the campground so we wouldn’t have to walk from the parking lot at the boat docks, cutting a little distance off the trail for the kids. After all, their little legs would be hiking a mile uphill to get to the very top in the above picture!


Jenna is such a creature of habit… She reminded me I needed to take a picture of them before we started hiking because “that’s what we always do”.


We started hiking around 9:30 am to try to beat the heat a little bit. If you plan on doing this hike, I HIGHLY recommend going early so you can find bits of shade on the way up the trail!


This is the first hike that we’ve done with Cory this year and it made for an interesting dynamic. Connor was starting to get scared because the trail was REALLY high up and had steep edges. He was also starting to get tired of hiking. Cory stopped to give him a pep-talk and some water, and after snapping this picture, Jenna and I hiked on ahead of the boys. I knew one way to motivate Connor up the hill was to stay ahead of him so he had to keep walking to get to mommy.


There were a few tears, some grumblings, and a few snappy remarks, but we made it to the top! Connor was thrilled that he climbed “plateau mountain” all by himself, and Jenna did an awesome job! Once we got to the top, we found a shady spot and had our classic PB&J hiking lunch.


The view from the top is just beautiful, and you can see several mountains in the distance. There is a loop trail that you can follow along the top of the plateau, but the kids were exhausted, so we just explored a little before heading back down the trail.


We knew Connor would have a hard time getting back down the trail, so we brought our Ergo carrier with us and Cory packed him down. He’s starting to get a bit big for the pack, but he seemed to be comfortable the entire way down and it’s really rather comfortable to wear him considering how much weight you’re packing.


Hiking down the hill was actually a lot harder than hiking up. The trail was very slippery from the dust and loose rocks, so I had to try to hold Jenna’s hand the entire way down. Which is extremely awkward on a trail that is only wide enough for a single file line! This was one of the worst spots in the trail and I think I took about 2 years off my life trying to get down it without imagining the horrible things that would happen should any of us slip and fall!


We made it back safely and we hiked a total of 2.52 miles. Our toughest hike yet! We spent 3 hours out on the trail, but our total moving time was only 1.5 hours with an average speed of 1.65 mph. This was the second time I’ve done this hike, and obviously I had forgotten the trails were so steep! If you plan on taking smaller kids, just be aware that you’ll need to hold their hands and take it slow at times, but it’s completely doable. There’s just something so completely satisfying about hiking to the top of a “mountain”.


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