10 Family Friendly Hikes in Utah
With spring here and summer just around the corner, it is time to get outside to enjoy some nice hikes. The mild weather makes it an ideal time to introduce your family to the outdoors and have some fun together. Utah is an amazing state with tons of great hiking options. Whether you’re a high-intensity hiker or a parent with young kids, there are some perfect hikes just waiting for you.
To help your hike be a fun experience, it’s important to be prepared with the some basic supplies. Here are some packing suggestions:
• More than enough water
• First aid kit
• Mosquito repellent
Also, it’s important to have comfortable shoes or hiking boots. Sore feet and blisters on the trail are one of the worst things. It’s a good idea to bring a pair of sandals for once you reach your destination, as it’s always rewarding to get your sweaty socks off and put on some comfy sandals to give your feet a break.
Always be sure to have a Plan B, in case you get into the hike and realize that a change of plans is required. This is especially relevant with children. It is good to remember that when hiking with youngsters, the experience is more important than the destination. So if it means turning around and heading back before reaching the planned location, that’s fine. Just enjoy the opportunity to get outside.
Below is a list of 10 family / kid friendly Utah hiking trails you may enjoy on your next outdoor adventure.
One popular hike for families is Silver Lake in American Fork Canyon. The trail is just 2.3 miles (one way) and starts off gently meandering through tall aspen trees. As you climb above the trees, you get some great views of the mountains all around you. If you are into fishing, don’t forget to take your fishing poles. The lake is full of pan-sized brookies. Click here for more information.
Silver Lake is encompassed by a boardwalk making it accessible to the young, old and those with disabilities. The boardwalk is less than a mile long and offers benches, picnic tables and a dock area for fishing. The lake is a popular hiking destination in the spring, summer and fall. Click here for more information.
The Devils Kitchen hiking trail is an outstanding geological formation located up Payson Canyon. This short hike less than 1/4 mile long takes you through pine trees and aspens and offers a beautiful view of a red rock formation. The trail is paved and wheelchair accessible. The trail head offers pit toilets and picnic areas. Click here for more information.
Less than one mile up Maple Canyon is the Box Canyon Hiking trail. This trail is very popular not only for hikers, but rock climbers too. As you begin this hike you will immediately understand where the canyon got its name. The rock walls tower hundreds of feet over your head with the widest part of the base being approx. 25 feet across. Around every corner of this hike offers unique features such as flora growing out of the rock surfaces, small and large caves in the canyon walls, and rock walls overhanging the trail below. Click here for more information
The Bells Canyon trail head is located at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon approx ¼ mile from Wasatch Blvd. and the 9800 South intersection. The trail head allows parking for several vehicles and even has restrooms. This 20 minute hike offers fantastic views of the valley below, large granite boulders and of course the beautiful Lower Bells Reservoir. This trail is considered an easy hike making it great for the whole family to enjoy. Click here for more information.
Hidden Falls is a picturesque waterfall located up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The parking lot for the trailhead is located 4.4 miles up the canyon just off the "S-Curve". From the parking area the trail heads north and requires you to cross the canyon road. The hike to Hidden Falls is approximately 0.3 miles with very little elevation gain making this hike kid friendly. Plus with the added bonus of the falls the kids will not be disappointed. Click here for more information.
Located about 7 miles up Payson Canyon is the Grotto Trail, commonly known as Grotto Falls. The trail is short, wide, with little elevation gain making it a great trail for all ages. The hike begins from the parking area just off the Mount Nebo Loop Road. It follows a small stream and curves its way through the forest. In a few locations you cross the stream on large timbers put in place by the forest service. This adds excitement to the trail, especially for the kids. Once you reach the end of the trail you are greeted with a beautiful waterfall cascading into a small pool of water, surrounded by steep rock walls. Click here for more information
The Rocky Mouth Trail is a great short hike to get out and cool off, on a hot summer day. The Trail head is located at 11300 South Wasatch Blvd. You park in the Wasatch Trail Head Lot, then ascend a railroad tie staircase to the subdivision road. The road curves to the left and on the right, in-between 2 houses, is the trail. This is a great hike for small children, those not accustomed to long elevation hikes or peak climbing. I have seen many children make it up to the falls. It is a great getaway for parents and kids. It gives parents the opportunity to show young people what nature and these mountains are all about. Click here for more information
The Red Cliffs Recreation Area offers many hiking trails that lead you through beautiful red rock formations and desert landscapes. The Red Reef trail is a six mile long trail that leads from the Red Cliffs Recreation Area to the Cottonwood Canyon Wilderness Area. If you’re not up to a six mile hike through southern Utah’s red rock desert no problem. The lower portion of the Red Reef trail meanders its way up Water Canyon providing spectacular views and leads to a slot canyon featuring pools of water and red rock gorges; all within a 1/2 mile or so from the parking lot. The Red Cliffs Recreation Area provides many different hiking trails and family activities. So spend a day and enjoy this beautiful desert environment. Click here for more information.
Little Cottonwood Canyon is home to many hiking opportunities for all ages, and abilities. But one trail stands out from all the rest. The Lisa Falls trail is a short kid friendly hike, which can be enjoyed by all ages. The trail begins on the north side of the Little Cottonwood Canyon road between mile markers 6 and 7. If you're searching for a kid friendly hiking trail or just looking for a quick outing in the great outdoors, take a hike to Lisa Falls. It's amazing how re-energizing even a short visit in nature can be. Click here for more information.
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