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5 family-friendly vacations with hiking trails

Aztec Butte Trail showcases some of the Anasazi's

Aztec Butte Trail showcases some of the Anasazi's rock structures. Photo Credit:

Take a hike -- and take the whole family with you. Here are five scenic destinations to consider.

1. GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING For jaw-dropping beauty, lace up and explore the jagged peaks of the magnificent Teton Range near Jackson Hole. Trails that hug the shores of String, Leigh and Trapper lakes are ideal for families. The flat terrain provides ample opportunity to photograph the Tetons reflected in the water.


2. THE MOUNTAINS OF COLORADO The Centennial State is home to dozens of 14,000-foot peaks featuring trails that are viable for adventuresome and fit families. At 14,060 feet, Mount Bierstadt is both the closest peak to Denver and considered among the most approachable. Arrive early, hydrate well and be off the mountain by midday to avoid thunderstorms.


3. SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VIRGINIA More than 500 trails snake through this park in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Access family-friendly trails via the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive, a historic National Scenic Byway that traverses the park and has 75 scenic overlooks. The 3.5-mile Lewis Springs Fall Loop is popular with families and offers scenic views and waterfalls.


4. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S BACKBONE TRAIL Not far from the Hollywood action you'll find the 68-mile Backbone Trail, extending the length of the Santa Monica Mountains. Choose from a handful of day hike options. Try the Ray Miller Trail, accessed through Point Mugu State Park. Scenic views of Ventura County can be seen from the 6-mile loop trail, starting at the trailhead off Yerba Buena Road.


5. CANYONLANDS, UTAH Keep your camera handy as you choose among short strolls, longer day hikes or more strenuous outings. The 2-mile Grand View Point trail offers panoramic views of the Island in the Sky Mesa. To learn about how the Anasazi lived in the area, consider the Aztec Butte Trail, where some of their rock structures are still visible.



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