Sometimes we hear “family friendly” and think it means a simple nature walk along a paved trail. That is not what these six trails are. These trails are the family friendly trails that will make your kids AND you feel like you are really adventuring together!
These trails would also be good for families that are new to hiking and want to work their way up to the harder trails.
Each hike on this list had to meet the following criteria:
- 1-2 miles round trip (not too long, but not too short)
- no switch backs
- dirt trail (not paved)
- partial shade
- something big to impress the littles (aka: waterfall, lake, dinosaur tracks, etc.)
*We made this list pretty specific in order to help parents with young kids find exactly what they are looking for. If your family can handle more than this, maybe you should check out the other family trails on Wanderookie like Stewart Falls, Donut Falls or the Utah Hot Springs hike.
1. Grotto Falls: If you like the idea of crossing a rushing river via narrow tree trunks and a thundering waterfall finale – this trail is for you. This is my favorite family friendly trail in Utah hands down! The whole hike you have to cross these tree trunk bridges that will make you feel like Calvin and Hobbes out on one of their explorations! Some will ignore this trail because of the length, but that would be a big mistake! The Grotto is a secret gem located right next to Payson, Utah that is about one mile round trip. For more trail info click here.
2. Battle Creek: Battle Creek Falls is a short-and-sweet hike with a big waterfall payoff at the end! Your kids can stand right under the waterfall if they want to. This hike also has some great views of Utah Lake at the top of the waterfall! I can’t list all the reasons to hike this trail here, but check out our post on ’20 Reasons to Hike Battle Creek Falls’ for more details! Located near Pleasant Grove, Utah, and only one mile round trip.
3. Timp Falls: Timp Falls is located near Provo, Utah. The trailhead begins next to the extremely popular Stewart Falls trailhead, so it is often overlooked. However, this trail is 1.5 miles shorter than Stewart Falls! This hike also has a beautiful cascading waterfall and amazing canyon views. It does have a bit of old crumbled pavement on a portion of the trail, but I chose to add it to the list since it is not being up-kept. For more info on this trail, click here.
4. Silver Reef Trail: Have a kid obsessed with dinosaurs? Silver Reef trail at Red Cliffs Recreation Area is a dinosaur-track trail located near Leeds, Utah. The Silver Reef trail is not a mile long by itself, but if you are visiting Red Cliffs anyway, you will want to check out their Red Reef trail (swimming holes and small waterfalls) and Native American archeological trail too! Each trail is about a quarter mile long and you can choose to stay at Red Cliffs and camp or use one of their day use parking spots! This place will become your all in one place camping destination! For more info click here.
5. Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion: If you want your kids to see a breathtaking view of Zion (without the Angel’s Landing switch-backs), view parkouring mountian goats or trek across cliff-side bridges – this is the trail for you! This family friendly trail is the secret treasure of Utah Zion National Park! It’s my favorite family hike in Zion. For more details click here.
6. Cecret Lake: I haven’t been up Cecret Lake yet, but it is an extremely popular family friendly trail. The lake is known for it’s beautiful water and the wildflowers that blossom around it. This 1.5 mile hike is located at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon road. For more trail info click here. *Update: Some commenters have let us know that this hike is popular for families, but it does have some switch backs at the very end! Keep that in mind if you choose this hike! If this is a deal breaker…check out Lisa Falls or Hidden Falls instead! Hidden Falls shown below.
Honorable mention goes to a recent hike we discovered called the Buffalo Peak trail! Finally, a kid friendly summit trail! Read more about it by clicking here. (The photo below is a preview of the Buffalo Peak trail!)
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