Living in Utah means hiking for entertainment, right? It’s cheap (or free!), nearby, and fun for the whole family. Pack a lunch, grab the kids and head out into Utah’s Great Outdoors for one of these eight family-friendly hiking trails.
1. Donut Falls, Big Cottonwood Canyon
Kids love this hike that allows plenty of opportunity to get their feet wet. The last portion of the trail requires you to hike right down the creek to the falls.
Once you get to the falls, you can climb up underneath to cool off. Take care climbing up, though - it's slippery.
2. Timpanogos Cave National Monument, American Fork Canyon
This hike is sure to tire the kids out, but they'll have fun all the way up the switchbacks.
It's a strenuous 1.5-mile hike to the cave, and you'll climb 1,065 feet, but views like this make it well worth the effort.
Of course, once you get to the top, you're rewarded with a nice, cool cave tour. Don't forget to bring a jacket - even on a hot day - it's a chilly 45 degrees inside.
3. Kanarraville Falls Trail
Hike through a slot canyon, where you'll get to wade in the nice, cool water.
After a 2.5-mile hike, you're rewarded with this gorgeous waterfall. You'll want to spend some time playing in the pool below.
Then, carefully climb the 12-foot ladder (there's a chain attached to the cliff wall to help you keep your balance), and you'll find some more small falls with natural slides. Bring a lunch along to make a day of this fun hike; out and back, it will take you about three hours to complete (not counting the time you spend playing in the water).
4. Silver Lake, Big Cottonwood Canyon
This trail is so easy your grandma can come along! The trail circles the lake and much of it is shaded by aspens and pines.
You'll traverse a boardwalk for about half of the trail. It's handicapped accessible and offers a few larger overlooks that take you right over the lake. Other portions of the boardwalk take you across the marshy area surrounding the lake. The entire loop is just .75 miles.
You'll see plenty of wildlife - maybe even a moose! This young moose was spotted wandering around right in the parking lot.
5. Tony Grove Lake, Logan Canyon
This 1.3-mile nature trail makes a loop around the lake. You can stop along the way for some fishing, if you'd like.
The lake is surrounded by wildflowers - it's even designated a U.S. Forest Service Wildflower Viewing Area.
6. Dog Lake, Millcreek Canyon
Not to be confused with the Dog Lake near Brighton, this lake is actually for dogs! The trail is shady and pleasant, and set aside for on-leash pups on odd days (even days are for mountain bikers).
Once you reach the lake (about 2.5 miles), your pup will have a blast playing with the other dogs and fetching sticks and balls from the lake. If you take your dog on this hike, keep him leashed until you get to the lake - and make sure he's socialized if you take him off-leash. Bring plenty of poop bags to clean up, too. We want to keep this place dog-friendly!
7. Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park
Hikers young and old will love this short hike to Mesa Arch. It's just .6 miles roundtrip, and the view offers an incredible payout.
It's a very popular spot for photographers during sunrise and sunset. You can see why.
Keep a close eye on little ones - on the backside of the arch is a cliff, and it's a loooong way down.
8. Canyon Overlook Trail, Zion National Park
Kids will love this short, easy trail in Zion National Park.
The viewpoint at the end will awe even the most jaded teenaged hikers, guaranteed!
If they're still feeling energetic, they can climb up for an even better view.