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Best Hikes for Young Kids in National Parks

Best Hikes for Young Kids in National Parks

If you are going on a national parks family vacation, check out our picks for the best hikes for young kids in national parks!

Hiking is a staple of visiting a national park. Most national parks are filled with hiking trails and walking trails just waiting to be explored! If you’re traveling with your family to a national park, you may want to keep this in mind when planning your trip. Not all hikes are great for the entire family!

If you need ideas or tips on where to take your kids while they are still young and hikes that are right for them, here are the best hikes for young kids in national parks.

hikes for young kids in national parks

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon has some fantastic views that don’t require you to take any hikes! Many views can be seen from the car or in roadside pullouts throughout the park. However, putting on your hiking shoes and trekking through the forest will give you views that are well worth the journey! 

If I had to pick one hiking trail for kids at Bryce Canyon, I would choose the Rim Trail. It’s only about a mile round trip, and it runs along the rim of the amphitheater. A section of the sunrise and sunset point is flat and paved, making it great for children.

Yosemite national Park

As with many of the more popular national parks, there are tons of super kid friendly hiking options at Yosemite National Park. A sure crowd pleaser though is the quick stroll to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. Out and back it’s only a 1 mile walk and it’s paved the entire way. If you time it right, you can see a rainbow in the waterfall too!

yosemite national park

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower is considered a sacred place and was designated as America’s first national monument back in 1906. The main attraction here is a solidified magma area that came from a volcano. This is known as Devils Tower.

The best hiking trail at this national park would be the Base Loop Trail. It’s a 1.3-mile loop around the Devils Tower rubble base and a great place to see how the shape changes as you view it from different areas. You can even see rock climbers scaling it!

Muir Woods National Monument

Just North of San Franscisco, this popular National Park is home to some of the largest Redwood trees you have ever seen! The main hiking path is a flat loop with turn outs so you can do the 1/2 hr, 1 hr, or 1 1/2 hr loop options. This is fantastic for younger kids.. just in case. But honestly, you probably won’t notice the distance because you won’t be able to stop looking at the trees!

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest dunes in all of Colorado and the United States! Here you’ll find 30 square miles of dunes with heights as tall as 700 feet! This park is excellent for kids of all ages and even adults!

The best place to “hike,” if you can even call it that, is the Dune Fields. This is a great place to roll or even run up and down the sand dunes. The sand can get hot in the summer, but you can go sand sledding, sandboarding, or walk the dunes.

Mount Rainier National PArk

There are quite a few kid friendly hikes inside Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State. We really loved the Grove of the Patriarchs Nature Trail. Not only does this 1.2 mile (roundtrip) trail bring you to some of oldest and largest trees in Washington State, but there is a cool swinging bridge and a lovely river too!

Mammoth Cave National Park

If you are looking for a unique national park experience, you’ll find it here in Kentucky. Their family-friendly Frozen Niagara tour takes just over an hour and is perfect for families.

Many cave tours are just too long for kids, or they require a lot of tight spaces and climbing, which can be a little intimidating for kids. However, if you take your kids on the Frozen Niagara Tour in Mammoth Cave, it’s only a quarter-mile round trip! There are so many things to see here, and you can even see a Rainbow Dome, Crystal Lake, and the Drapery Room on this tour.

olympic national park

The Hall of Moss Trail inside the Hoh Rainforest is a mere .8 of a mile but it will completely transport you into a fantastyworld. Moss drips from the trees, giving the entire trail an overgrown, magical feel. The trail itself is very short and completely flat. You kids will be amazed, and you will be too!

Olympic National Park

As you can see, you can still go hiking even if you have young kids. Toddlers and even smaller children can still go on these hikes, plus some of them aren’t that long! Just remember to know and understand your family before you choose one of these hikes. While these are general recommendations, they might not work for every family.


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