Finding hiking trails suitable for the entire family may pose a challenge depending on location. Consider the many national parks located around the country. These areas typically contain a large variety of trails that vary in length, physical demand and terrain. Before setting out on the journey, take inventory of all the necessary gear. Plan your next awesome hiking vacation to one of these family-friendly hiking destinations.
Great Sand Dunes National Park – Colorado
Spanning 30 square miles and standing over 700 feet tall, these dunes in Colorado are the largest in the country. Unlike dunes found in numerous other locations, these massive hills comprised of sand lay not near expansive bodies of water but the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The unique destination offers the chance to hike or slide down the mounds on skis, flat-bottomed sleds or snowboards. When the sun becomes overwhelming, take a dip in the refreshing Medano Creek.
Mount Rainier National Park – Washington
The spectacular views from this location include the snow-covered peaks that include Mount Rainier. The Sourdough Ridge Trail provides a scenic hike for guests of all ages. Encompassing a one mile loop, the route includes a gradual increase in elevation. The easy path offers a sense of accomplishment when reaching the ridge top. Look around, take pictures and enjoy the amazing views from this truly beautiful location. Also be sure you have packed all the hiking necessities, including snacks, water, first aid, bug repellant, and outdoor knives.
Mammoth Cave National Park – Kentucky
Unlike many cave tours that require stair climbing and squeezing through inordinately narrow spaces, the Frozen Niagara tour accommodates visitors young and old, athletic or couch potato. The quarter mile route leads to numerous amazing formations contained within the Drapery Room and the Rainbow Dome. See the Crystal Lake and the flowstone that resembles a frozen waterfall. Many formations resemble animals or popular characters, which delights youngsters.
Petrified Forest National Park – Arizona
The open environment of this destination allows children the opportunity to stretch their legs and spend restless energy while learning how the elements and time affect nature. The family friendly quarter mile loop known as the Giant Logs Trail features “Old Faithful,” a massive fallen tree measuring over 170 feet in length and nine feet across. Learn about the petrifaction process that requires thousands of years by observing these rainbow colored agate covered logs. It makes for a fun and educational family hike.
Devil’s Tower National Monument – Wyoming
Long considered sacred to the Native American people, Devil’s Tower remains an astounding curiosity to all who visit. The extinct volcano formed over millions of years as magma flowed upward without erupting. Erosion carved the flat top mound and the corrugated columns along the sides. A 1.3 mile loop travels around the base of the massive formation that stands 867 feet tall. See the unusual geological features from all sides while watching the many climbers who regularly scale to the top.