Best 10 Iconic Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in the West

There is an attitude prevalent amongst singles and couples alike, that once you have kids your adventurous lifestyle is over. For good.

I once believed this to be true as well. But after standing on the family side of the fence for the last 10 years, I can now tell you it is not true. Outdoor pursuits might need to be modified, might require more work, and greater flexibility, but they need not end!

The first step is finding something that inspires you: a hike, skiing a new ski area, visiting a new mountain range. The second is grabbing your stuff and walking out the door. I cannot help you with the second but I hope to help you with the first.

Below is a collection of the family-friendly iconic hiking trails in the west, pre-approved by outdoor adventurers WITH kids. Now you have no more excuses.

1. Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Leigh Lake

Roundtrip Length: 3.7 miles

Elevation Gain: 50 feet

Amble alongside gorgeous mountain lakes and enjoy a relatively easy hike with a lot of visual punch. At Leigh Lake enjoy views of the Middle Tetons including, Teewinot Mountain, Rockchuck Peak, Mt. Woodring and Mt. Moran. This is also a great first overnight trip with your kids and according to adventurer, Amy Hatch from, it can easily be combined with pack-rafting, canoeing or stand-up-paddleboarding.

2. Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch

Round Trip Length: 4 miles

Elevation Gain: 641 feet

Perhaps you recognize Delicate Arch, as it graces many Utah license plates. For this reason, it is probably the most famous arch in America and a stunning icon of the southwest. The hike begins by crossing a bridge, passing a historic cabin, and then climbing steadily over sandstone for 2 miles before dropping you at Delicate Arch. Keep a close hand on your little ones as there are sections with exposed cliffs.

3. Dream Lake via Bear Lake – Rocky Mountain National Park

Hike to Dream Lake

Round Trip Length: 2.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 450 feet

Experience the high mountain lakes and towering summits of the Rocky Mountains by hiking with your kids to Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Start at Bear Lake and take the trail branch toward Nymph Lake. The trail climbs steadily, passing Nymph Lake and views of Long’s Peak. Enjoy a picnic with your family at Dream Lake with amazing views of Hallet Peak and Flattop Mountain.


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