My Son's List of Top 5 Scenic Trails for Hiking with the Family

 

By Kimberly Dijkstra

 

A hike with the family is a great way to connect with nature and with each other. With hiking trails ubiquitous throughout the US, you’ve never very far from a good one wherever you are. For the most beautiful scenery, some travel may be in order. Selecting easy to moderate hikes ensures even the littlest ones can keep up and enjoy themselves.

 

Here are the top 5 scenic trails for hiking with the family.

 


North Vista Trail 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado 
3 miles round trip

 

Named for the mind-blowing views, North Vista Trail begins at the North Rim Ranger Station. The moderate trail leads you through the pinyon-juniper forest to Exclamation Point, where you’ll find some of the best inner-canyon views of the whole park. Two billion years of history are illustrated by the cliffs ー you have to see it to believe it.

 

There are several other easy trails in the park, on both the north and south rim, and three different campgrounds. If you’re not planning to pitch a tent, the nearby city of Montrose has hotels, restaurants, and plenty of amenities for a family getaway.

 

 


Glacier Point

Yosemite National Park, California 
1 mile round trip

 

The majesty of the Sierra is all around at Yosemite National Park, and one of the best places to see it is from Glacier Point. You can marvel with your loved ones at Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, and Yosemite Falls at this easily accessible outlook, just a short walk from the parking lot.

 

Descend the staircase to Washburn Point Trail for another perspective on Half Dome, plus a view of Illilouette Falls.

 

The park itself is an unparalleled family vacation destination, with numerous hiking trails through the valley, meadows, and groves of giant sequoias.

 

 


Coastal Trail 

Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, Maine
‘2.8 miles round trip

 

Get yourself a taste of wilderness along the stunning ‘Bold Coast’ of Maine. This ecological preserve on the Cutler Coast has miles of trails, the easiest of which is the Coastal Trail. It takes you down a forested path to a high point overlooking the ocean. The rocky cliffs are one of the first places to see the sunrise in the United States.

 

A hike on this trail takes about 2 hours and could easily be a day trip from Bangor or Bar Harbor, both of which have attractions for the family.

 


Templeton Trail

Coconino National Forest, Arizona 
7 miles round trip

 

Venture down the Templeton Trail for a knockout view of Cathedral Rock, the postcard-perfect image representing Sedona and its famous red rocks. This well-trafficked trail is the key to gorgeous views, especially in the springtime when the desert is bursting with wildflowers and colorful cacti. In the summer, there’s not much shade to hide from the sun, but you can find some greenery alongside the peaceful Oak Creek. 

 

Dogs and horses are welcome on the trail and it is accessible year-round to hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. 

 

Lodging is readily available in the nearby Village of Oak Creek, Sedona, and Flagstaff.

 


Wildcat Den Trail 

Wildcat Den State Park, Iowa 
4 mile loop

 

Natural beauty is combined with historical structures and recreation areas at Wildcat Den State Park. Trails wind past creeks, sandstone bluffs, a historic grist mill, and interesting rock formations named “Steamboat Rock,” “Devil’s Punch Bowl,” and “Fat Man’s Squeeze.”

 

There is plenty to explore between the magical ravines and spellbinding forest. The area is especially beautiful in the fall, when the leaves on the trees turn vibrant shades of yellow and orange.

 

The nearest city is Davenport in eastern Iowa, which has lodging, art and science museums, and other family-friendly attractions. The park is also about an hour from Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

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