11 Best Kid-friendly Hikes in the U.S

The Best Kid-friendly Hikes in the U.S

kid hiking with a backpack

Hiking is a great way to bond with your kids, build their confidence and stamina, and give them memories they will never forget. It's also an excellent way to teach them about nature and all that it has to offer. You can go on short hikes or long ones but remember to start slow if you're new to hiking with children. Kids love being outdoors and exploring. If you've got the gear for it, take them along for a hike.

Ofcourse hiking isn't just for kids, but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy some of the best wilderness hiking trails around.

During hiking season – which extends from March to October depending on the location – families need to be extra prepared with good hiking shoes and plenty of food and water.

With so many different hiking spots around the country, there's something for everyone. Whether you're looking to stay in a specific region or explore across state lines, these five locations are perfect for children of all ages and abilities!


  1. The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

  2. Zion National Park, Utah

    The narrows hiking trails offer families a great hiking experience in Zion National Park, Utah. As a designated wilderness area, hiking is the only way to access the beautiful Narrows region of Virgin River.

    The hiking trail itself winds through slot canyons with sheer sandstone walls rising above you. It's an ideal spot for kids because no technical gear or hiking skills are required. The trails are easy for kids of any age.

    Hikers usually start from the Temple of Sinawava and hike up the Riverside Walk trail to the mouth of the Narrows. Hikers can stay on the hiking trails or bravely walk along a few sections along the Virgin River. It's a great adventure for kids who love hiking and being outdoors.

    Kids will also have to option to take a light dip in the waters of the Virgin River, but be sure to keep a close eye on your little ones, and make sure they swim in hiking gear and life jackets. Older kids will enjoy hiking the popular 1-mile hike through Angel's Landing.

    Angel's Landing is only for those who are physically fit, have hiking experience, and kids willing to take the journey. The Angels Landing Trail is about 4.4 miles long and usually have many people taking the journey all at once. Make sure that your family has plenty of water along this hike, so they don't dehydrate in warmer weather conditions . You'll also want to bring snacks for kids to keep them occupied while you stop for a rest.

    When is the best time to hike The Narrows?

    The best time to go hiking The Narrows is during the spring, summer and fall months when you can expect 50-80 degree weather.

  3. Lily Marsh Trail

  4. Ponderosa State Park, McCall, Idaho

    Ponderosa State Park is a great place to bring your family for the day. You'll enjoy many different activities, like fishing, boating and hiking.

    It's a very common question for parents of young children: where can we go outdoors, and it be easy to keep the kids entertained? The Lily Marsh Trail at Ponderosa State Park may be the answer. This 1-mile trail is located just south of McCall, Idaho in Payette National Forest. It's an easy hike that features bird watching opportunities and fishing spots - but best of all, it has picnic tables with plenty of shade to enjoy your lunch!

    The trail also offers plenty views of wildflowers and wildlife as you enjoy the outdoors with your family

  5. Mammoth Cave National Park

  6. The trails at this park were ranked the seventh most popular hiking destinations in America recently. The trails are all rated from easy to hard. You and your kids should choose one of the easy trails to get a hang of things. Hike distances here vary from 0.8 to 11.1 miles. Test your kids on the shorter trails first to see how they do.

    The trail will leave your kids begging for more, as it goes through a giant forest of maple, walnut and hickory trees. You may even encounter some wild animals on your hiking trip here.

    Trails available

    There are a total of 32 trails located in this area but i will only be listing 6 in the table below as i think that those 7 are more suitable for kids.

    Trail Distance Duration
    Heritage Trail Loop 0.8 Miles 20 Minmutes
    Dixon Cave Trail Loop 1.5 Miles 48 Minutes
    Cedar Sink Trail 1.8 Miles 55 Minutes
    Green River Bluffs and Heritage Loop 2.4 Miles 1 Hr 15 Minutes
    Echo River Spring and Sinkhole Loop 2.8 Miles 1 Hr
    Green River Bluff, Echo River Springs, Sinkhole and Heritage Trail 4.5 miles 2 Hrs 10 minutes
  7. Leesylvania State Park

  8. Leesylvania State Park, Daniel K Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge, VA

    The trails here are divided into more easy hiking trails that are and some challenging hiking trails. If you are here during July or August, go hiking to avoid the summer heat. The fishing area and the pier are great spots to relax after hiking. Here, hiking the trails is a lot of fun as they are very picturesque and take you through some interesting hiking trials. Camping is also allowed here at this national recreational area.

    The hiking trail is great for hiking with children as it has a wooden boardwalk that goes over the swampy area of the park that makes hiking here safe and fun. At the end of this hiking trail, you will be at the base of a waterfall where you can take amazing pictures that will stay in your memories for years to come.

    Campsites here are very close to the hiking trails, and many of them have great views of the nearby mountains and lakes. Camping allowed only in designated sites at the hiking campground. Pets are also not allowed on hiking trails because they may cause you and your family danger while hiking in a national park.

  9. FENWICK MINES WALK

  10. This location offers hiking trails that are just right for sightseeing hiking with your kids. The historic Fenwick Mines building was used as an iron ore mine and is a historic landmark. While you hike with your kids along these trails, you will get to see the remains of the redstone ore mine that used to exist here.

    One hiking trail in this area leads to the Fenwick Creek Bridge which is just one mile away from where you are hiking. The hiking trails have several hiking activities and hiking destinations for families hiking along with their kids. Waterfall, wetlands, and a pond are just some of the beautiful things you will get to see.

  11. Fox Hollow Trail

  12. Located near Front Royal, Virginia, this hiking trail is roughly 1.2 miles long and is suitable for kids. You can also enjoy other activities such as mountain biking and horseback riding. The hiking path is not steep which makes it perfect for all hiking levels. Most of the trees in this hiking area grew after the last ice age, some of these trees are over a thousand years old and can be used to teach your kids a thing or two about nature.

  13. Lover's Leap Trail

  14. Natural Tunnel State Park Visitor Center, Chairlift Loop, Duffield, VA 24244 Lover's Leap Trail

    Brad Deweese / AllTrails

    Located in the Natural Tunnel State Park, this hiking trail is a short hiking path which lies in the Natural Tunnel of Virginia. A beautiful hiking trail with a kid friendly terrain, this hiking trail is great for all ages. The hike can take from 30 minutes to three hours depending on your hiking speed and climbing experience. You will pass through dense forests where you will get to witness abundant wildlife such as deer, squirrels and of course the hiking trail is home to plenty of birds. The hiking trail also features several scenic vistas which you can use to capture some stunning photos during your hiking trip.

    The Lover's Leap hiking trail gives you a chance to relive the past as it takes you back around 10,000 years ago when this place was actually only a huge lake. This hiking trail is definitely a hidden gem and those who get to hike it are always pleased with the hiking experience they get to have here. The hiking trail features many great hiking spots that you can enjoy if you feel like resting along the way.

  15. Logan Creek Falls

  16. Falls Of Logan Creek, 9001-9107 Hayters Gap Rd, Abingdon, VA 24210

    This is a waterfall trail that features many hiking spots to fill every hiking enthusiast who is setting out on this hiking trail with enjoyment. The hiking trail takes you through a variety of pleasant experiences from weaving through lush forests to hiking along scenic pathways that offer great sceneries of the terrain and wildlife around. It also provides a chance for everyone in your hiking group, regardless of their hiking experience level, to enjoy all that nature has to offer.

    The hike is only roughly 2 miles so it is considered a relatively easy hiking trail, however it does have a pretty decent elevation gain. This hiking trail is not one that you want to be setting off into in the afternoon because if you do, it could get dark on you before you can make it back to your car for nightfall. The hiking trailhead starts from the Logan Creek Campgrounds and will end in the beautiful "Logan Pass" area. This hiking trail is an excellent hiking trail to start with if you are planning on hiking in Glacier National Park.

    The hiking trail may be short, but it does have a lot of good scenery to see and take pictures of like the Hardin Falls and the beautiful meadows that cover such a large part of the hiking trail.

  17. Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

  18. 15101 Lancaster Rd, Lancaster, CA Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

    This is the perfect place to hike when it's poppy season. There is 8 miles of trails for you and your kids to hike while viewing the loveliest landscape ever! There is some hiking along with an easy walk to add on to those family hiking excursions. At a lower altitude than most hiking trails, this is great for beginners and families.

    A good tip when hiking in California is that you bring lots of water because it's always warmer than what you think it's going to be. Temperatures during hiking ranges from 80-100 degrees Fahrenheit (June-July). Water sources are almost always available so make sure you refill whenever possible. Plus there are tons of animals roaming around so kids will love spotting them as well!

  19. McCormick's Creek State Park, Indiana

  20. McCormick's Creek State Park, 250 McCormick Creek Park Rd, Spencer, IN 47460

    The trails here are moderate ranging from 0.7 to 4.9 miles. There are a total of 6 trails for hiking and biking. Each trail has its own hiking difficulty rating ranging from 1-5 so be sure to do your research on which trail is best for your skill level. Kids will be ok with levels 1-3. McCormick's Creek State Park is host to many hiking events as well so if you are having trouble deciding where to hike in Indiana, this park might just be the perfect place for you and your kids.

    A good tip when hiking at McCormick's Creek State Park is that most of the trails are shaded by trees and surrounded by hills or boulders making it difficult to see where you're going sometimes. Be mindful of these factors when hiking here.

  21. Stephen C. Foster State Park, Georgia

  22. Stephen C Foster State Park, 17515 GA-177, Fargo, GA 31631

    There are a total of 5 miles worth of trails here. Kids will enjoy this location because of the hiking trials, camping sites and fishing spots.

    A hiking tip for this location is that the trail can be rocky so make sure you wear hiking boots or hiking shoes with good soles. The best hiking season here is in fall through winter as it's too hot during the summer months to enjoy hiking at Stephen Foster State Park.

    The only downside to this park is that hikers need a Discover Pass which they must display on their vehicle when parking here. This might make some people not want to go hiking in this park as they might not know what a Discover Pass is or where to find one.

    The fact that there are so many hiking trails here makes it easy to find kid-friendly hiking trails that can be used by all.

Conclusion

Hiking with your kids is a great way to spend time together and get some fresh air. It’s also just plain good for them. As the summer is coming to an end, it's time for us to start thinking about things that we can do with our kids during the fall and winter. One of those activities could be hiking! Kids love going on hikes because they're adventurous, but also because there are so many interesting things to see along the way like bugs or plants.

Kids hike at a slower speed than a fit adult, so nbe sure to try and travel at their speed.


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