Best 10 Iconic Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in the West

4. North Falls at Silver Falls State Park, OR

North Falls at Sivler Falls State Park

Round Trip Length: .8 mi from North Falls TH

Elevation Gain: 90 feet

The roaring falls of the Pacific Northwest should be on everyone’s list, and among my favorites are the waterfalls found on the Trail of Ten Falls Loop (roughly 8 miles total) within Silver Falls State Park, OR. There are a variety of trailheads and junctions which allow you to do either the entire loop or separate segments of it with children. North Falls and South Falls Loop are the most impressive. While they are great in the summer, I’d suggest the winter or early spring as they are the powerful due to rain.

5. Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, UT

Mesa Arch

Round Trip Length: .5 miles

Elevation Gain: 118 feet

Mesa Arch is a short hike to stunning scenery. The arch perfectly frames the canyons and vistas etched below. For stunning photos and cooler temperatures, visit early in the morning or in the evening near sunset.

6. Hiking the Grand Canyon via the South Kaibab Trail, AZ

grand-canyon-Kaibab Trail

Round Trip Length: 7 miles to Phantom Ranch / 9 miles via Bright Angel

Elevation Gain: 4460 feet

A great option for families that want to experience the Grand Canyon up close and personal but also want a challenge. Hike the South Kaibab trail down into the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch. Spend two days resting and exploring at the ranch before hiking back out via the Bright Angel trail. Kristen Loomis of did this hike with her sons when they were age 10 and 13.

7. Inspiration Point / Channel Islands National Park, CA

Round Trip Length: 1.5 mi from North Falls TH

Elevation Gain: Minimal

The Channel Islands encompass a total of five islands approximately 30 miles off the California coast. Anacapa Island, plays host to a 2 mile trail system that offers unparalleled ocean views. Use caution when accompanying children as many of the hikes are near steep, exposed cliffs.

8. Grove of the Patriarchs – Rainier National Park, WA

grove of the patriarchs

Round Trip Length: 1.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 0 feet

A short kid-friendly hike that is certain to wow every member of the family. Enjoy crossing the Ohanapecosh River via a suspension bridge to an isolated grove of trees that have survived for thousands of years. This hike showcases ancient Douglas fur, western hemlock, and western red cedars and is a great hike regardless of the weather or season. For more information on hikes in Rainier National Park visit

9. Navajo Loop, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Navajo Loop Bryce Canyon

Round Trip Mileage: 1.3 Miles

Elevation Gain: 550 feet

Immerse your family in the world-famous hoodoos and spires of Bryce Canyon National Park! This short hike descends steeply into what is know as “Wall Street”. You’ll have a break from the heat in the narrow passages and slot-canyon like trails. Enjoy pizza and a soda at the park pizzeria adjacent to the lodge afterwards!

10.Horseshoe Bend, AZ

Horseshoe Bend, AZ

Round Trip Mileage: 1.25 miles

Elevation Gain: 50 feet

The dramatic cliffs and magical slot canyons on Navajo Tribal Lands near Lake Powell are among some of the most photographed locations in the world. The hike to Horseshoe Bend is relatively easy and flat, the most difficult obstacle being the sand. Keep a hand on your young children as the cliff side is unobstructed but then, so are the views. Be sure to check out Waterholes Slot Canyon. Hiking permits must be obtained for Waterholes Canyon at the Tribal Parks Office.


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