6 Great National Park Hikes For Kids

Visiting a national park at any age is an unforgettable experience, but finding safe, easy, and interesting trails that will keep the attention of younger children can be a challenge.

The good news is, our national parks are packed full of hiking trails that are both easy and entertaining, making them the perfect fit for kids. And who knows, these family hikes might inspire a sense of adventure in your little ones that lasts a lifetime.

Here are 6 hikes in our national parks that are great for kids.

1. Acadia National Park: Wonderland Trail

This easy gravel trail is relatively flat and lacks many of the exposed rocks and roots of some of the more challenging hikes. The Wonderland trail takes you through beautiful evergreen forests and deposits you on a stunning peninsula surrounded by rocky shoreline. The coastline is a great place to search the tidepools and collect shells.

Distance: 1.4 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation: Mostly level

2. Zion National Park: Canyon Overlook Trail

This is a classic Zion trail that leads to a stunning vista. You begin by climbing sandstone steps and follow the winding trail along Pine Creek Canyon. The trail ends at the edge of a cliff that offers spectacular views of lower Zion Canyon. Kids will love the hoodoos and wildflowers along the trail, just don’t let them stray too far and be aware of dropoffs.

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation: Moderately level after the stairs

3. Mount Rainier National Park: Trail of the Shadows

Nature and history come together on this quick and easy trail. Wander through dense forests and colorful meadows on your way to a number of different charming springs, beaver ponds, and an old homestead cabin. This trail is located in the Longmire area.

Distance: 0.7 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation: Mostly level

4. Yosemite National Park: Bridalveil Fall Trail

This short, easy trail takes you to the famous Bridalveil Fall. While it’s not as big as Yosemite Falls, this breathtaking 620 foot waterfall is not to be missed. Kids will love standing at it’s base and feeling the famous mist, the perfect way cool off on a hot day. The path does tend to get slippery from all the spray, so keep an eye on the little ones.

Distance: 1.2 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation: Moderately level

5. Smoky Mountains National Park: Porters Creek Trail

Porters Creek Trail leads to Porters Flat which can be found in the Greenbrier Cove area of the park. This short, moderate hike travels though hardwood forest to an old 19th century cabin, barn, and springhouse that are great for exploring. Other remnants can be seen along the way including the Ownby Cemetery. The best time to visit is arguably during the early spring months when the wildflowers are in full bloom.

Distance: 2 mile round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Elevation: Mostly level

6. Glacier National Park: Running Eagle Falls

The well maintained trail leading to Running Eagle Falls is short and sweet, but this is a real gem. This waterfall is also known as “Trick Falls” because at certain times there are actually two waterfalls here, one falling into the other. Besides for looking at the waterfall(s), you get a great view of Rising Wolf Mountain and a beautiful spot to have a picnic or just relax for a little while.

Distance: 0.6 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Elevation: Mostly level

 

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Jessica Goehring title: Administrator
Jessica is a freelance writer. She resides in Minnesota with her husband, daughter dog, and 4 cats. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, and hiking.