Taking to the trails with the whole family is a great way to introduce youngsters to the benefits of fresh air and the natural world. Here are five hikes to enjoy together.
1. ROSCOE, MONTANA Pristine mountain lakes, tumbling waterfalls and lush wildflowers make up the East Rosebud Trail in Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. The full length of the 26-mile trail runs through the heart of this magnificent region, from East Rosebud Lake to Cooke City, near the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
2. ALPINE LOOP SCENIC BYWAY, COLORADO Combine a rugged road trip with the chance to immerse yourselves in nature’s bounty during short hikes amid tufted hair grass, bluebells and alpine timothy in some of Colorado’s most scenic landscapes. During your 65-mile four-wheel-drive adventure, the clan will marvel at the high-altitude beauty of the treeless tundra, craggy mountain views and 12,000-foot peaks.
3. ELY, MINNESOTA The full length of the Kekekabic Trail winds almost 40 miles from Snowbank Road, east of Ely, through the heart of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to the famed Gunflint Trail. Experience rocky outcroppings, pristine lakes, scenic bluffs and eagles soaring overhead. Listen for the rich yodeling of resident loons.
4. SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, TENNESSEE The cool mist from Grotto Falls is a welcome greeting for hikers who venture down the scenic path on a warm summer day. The trail provides access behind 25 feet of falling water where salamanders scamper about to the delight of trekkers. The three-mile round trip takes families through an old-growth hemlock forest.
5. GRAND COUNTY, COLORADO Lace up your hiking boots and choose from hundreds of trails throughout Winter Park and the surrounding valley. Families can enjoy the Monarch Lake Loop Trail in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. The easy, four-mile outing begins at an old cabin and promises fantastic views and the occasional moose sighting. Consider the half-mile excursion to see the waterfall via the Adams Falls East Inlet Trail. Pets are not permitted.