TOP 10 FAMILY-FRIENDLY HIKES IN THE U.S.
Looking to get your kids out the door but don’t have enough time to plan a weekend getaway? These day hikes are perfect for you! We’ve compiled the top 10 family-friendly hikes all under 5 miles— sure to keep your whole family smiling.
Arches National Park, Utah — Windows Trail (1 mile)
If you want to see the beauty of Arches National Park in an hour or less, then this is the trail for you. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy, this gentle climb leads you up a gravel road to three massive arches, the Turrech Arch and “The Spectacles,” which are two connected natural arches carved from the remnants of a 100 foot wide fin. Because this breathtaking trail can get crowded, be sure to head out either early morning or late afternoon to fully enjoy all of the beauty this hike has to offer!
Acadia National Park, Maine — Jordan Pond Nature Trail (1 mile loop)
Experience Acadia National Park’s deepest and clearest lake on this one mile trail around Jordan Pond. Before enjoying the beautiful views of the bubble rocks, be sure to pick up an informative brochure that leads you through ten key facts about the natural and historical significance of this glacially carved landscape. Most importantly though, don’t forget to head to the Jordan Pond House restaurant and enjoy their famous popovers and tea!
Yosemite National Park, California — Lower Yosemite Fall Trail (1 Mile)
Enjoy the final 320 foot drop of North America’s tallest waterfall on this one mile looped trail. Plan your trip in spring and early summer when the weather is the nicest and the volume of the water is the highest, giving you just enough mist to stay cool during the hike. Be sure to take this loop clockwise for the most amazing views of Yosemite Creek and Yosemite Falls!
Zion National Park, Utah— Lower Emerald Pool Trail (1.2 miles)
Set aside about two hours to complete this Zion classic. This non-strenuous hike is conveniently located right across from the Zion Lodge, and is best taken in the warmer months. The Lower Emerald Pool Trail is made up of a collection of small, flat trails that lead you through dense greenery to pools formed from the lush streams of water that roll down the surrounding cliffs. With this many picturesque landscapes, you don’t want to forget your camera!
Olympic National Park, Alaska— Rialto Beach Trail (1.5 miles)
This beautiful mile and a half beach hike is best taken between the months of April and October. On this trail, you will be engulfed by towering trees on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other, with views of giant drift logs and offshore sea stacks that truly encapsulate the charm of Rialto Beach. If you’re not ready to part with the beauty of this trail at the end of the day, stay at the campsite located about one mile into the trail!
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico— Pueblo Bonita Overlook Trail (2 miles)
This two mile trail offers views and history unlike any other. Set aside about one hour to climb the cliffs and cross the mesa that offers breathtaking views of the Nuevo Alto and Pueblo Alto ruins, while encountering many other ancient sites along the way. Venture through the Chacoan stairs, ramps, and roads while enjoying unbeatable views of the San Juan Basin!
Denali National Park, Alaska — Horseshoe Lake Trail (3.2 mile loop)
This gorgeous 3.2 mile loop trail offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Nenana River, the Glitter Gulch, and the surrounding mountains. Despite the longer distance, this leisurely hike takes you down a developed road and leads you to the serene Horseshoe Lake, where your family can stop and enjoy the breathtaking views as well as a beaver dam. However, this trail can get fairly crowded, so be sure to get an early start!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming — Taggart Lake Trail (3.3 miles)
Best taken between May and October, this 3.3 mile family-friendly hike is full of open meadows and tumbling streams, lined by dense evergreen forests. Taggart Lake is the perfect go-to for a family that is looking to experience an abundance of various landscapes, as it offers an endless amount of scenery and colors. Take some time to do some bird watching, and keep your eyes out for chipmunks – if you’re lucky, you may even spot a moose!
Glacier National Park, Montana— Haystack Butte Trail(4 miles)
This beautiful four mile hike is perfect for any family, as the long gradual incline offers many breathtaking lookouts and trails to choose from depending on how adventurous you’re group is feeling. If you are looking to enjoy a relaxing day with the family, bring along a picnic blanket and hike four miles to Haystack Butte, where you can enjoy lunch alongside a magnificent view of Glacier National Park before making your way back down.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii— Kilauea Iki Trail (4 miles)
This four mile hike takes you over the solidified Kīlauea Iki Crater lava lake, allowing you to peek into the vent that erupted in 1959. From Crater Rim Drive, two trails will lead you to the crater floor. The trail to the left simply takes you past an overflow parking lot, whereas the trail to the right leads you along a lush rain forest before you advance down to the steaming lava lake. Allow yourself around three hours to fully enjoy this hike, and be sure to come prepared with rain gear!