The summer months are the perfect time of year to explore nature together as a family. Hitting the road and experiencing the best sights and scenes throughout the nation is the perfect way to create family memories that your children will speak about for months to come.
If you are an adventure seeker, Colorado is one of the best places in the country to introduce your kiddos to the beauty of the outdoors. Weve rounded up five of the best family friendly hikes and all the tips you need to stay safe and connected on the journey.
Five Family Friendly Colorado Hikes
Hikes are ranked in order of difficulty
Red Rocks Amphitheater Loop
With a total distance of 1.2 miles and a gradual incline, the Red Rocks Amphitheater Loop is perfect for experiencing deep red rock formations that give the area its name. The trail is a complete circle with most of the upward incline occurring towards the end of the loop. This trail is perfect for acclimating to hiking as a family and is easy enough to start even while baby wearing.
Lair O The Bear
This 1.3 mile hike treks alongside Bear Creek and has ample area for packing along a picnic lunch the whole crew can enjoy. Inclines are at a minimum on this route but remember to be prepared for muddy feet as you head back to the car at the end of the day.
Three Sisters Park
This cattle ranch turned open space boasts over 15 miles of hiking throughout the 770 acre park. With over a dozen trails to select from you are bound to find at least one option that suits the needs of your family. For hikers 6-8 years old the 1.2 mile bearberry trail provides shade and inspires the imagination by traveling past a historical homestead.
Fountain Valley Trail at Roxborough State Park
Located just 45 minutes south of Denver is a 2.3 mile loop that explores the beauty of some of Colorados lower elevation landmarks. The trail features towering red rock formations and those who are quiet may even catch a glimpse of white tailed deer as they travel through the valley.
With three trail options Maxwell Falls can be a location you visit again and again, challenging young hikers with new terrain on each journey. To experience the falls that give this area its name youll need to take the longest and most arduous route, the Lower Maxwell Falls Hike. This trail is in and out, journeying alongside Maxwell Creek until you hear the falls at about a mile and a half in. The hike to and from the falls totals 4 miles of terrain.
Tips for Hiking as a Family
Remember the sunscreen.
Even if the sky appears overcast regularly applying sunscreen is a necessity in the Colorado elevation. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before heading out and reapply throughout the day to ensure full coverage.
Stay in contact.
Mountain trails often mean limited cell phone reception and if someone takes a wrong turn could lead to a panicked outing. Making sure everyone stays connected is important and the GoTenna is perfect for reaching out to the other members of your group no matter where your journey takes you. Hooking directly to your pack, GoTenna transmits GPS coordinates and text messages to any GoTenna devices within several miles – even when no cell towers are in sight.
Keeping safe while adventuring is easy when you know that the whole family is just a quick message away. If you have older children or two adults who want to enjoy trails of varying difficulties the GoTenna is ideal for coordinating meet ups and logistics.
Be prepared for anything.
Colorados mountain weather can change quickly. Expect the elements by including a waterproof jacket, hat and gloves in your day pack. If possible each hiker should carry their own gear. Adding in a snack and an extra bottle of water can help ensure that the trip is happy for everyone on the trail.
If little ones are a part of your hiking crew remember to bring along extra diapers and wipes. Even potty trained kiddos may underestimate the length of the trail and need to learn how to find a restroom behind a tree or bush. Having wipes, a ziplock bag for dirty items and antibacterial cleaner can save the day in just about any situation.
Adventuring outdoors as a family is a tradition you can begin at a young age and foster through the teenage years and beyond. As your family grows and learns you will be surprised to see how impactful a strong relationship with the environment can grow into dozens of other fun activities outside. Hiking is a great introduction to nature that can be fostered into camping, rock climbing, skiing and more!
Photo Credits: Alzbeta Volk Photography, Four Cornered Photography, Dawn Gioia, Mark Land, Craig Talbert [adapted], RockyMtnBliss