Utah is one of the most diverse and beautiful places to experience nature. From the high Wasatch mountains to the other-worldly terrain of the red rocks in Southern Utah, there is something for everyone. Especially families that are looking to adventure with their kids! Read on to find 22 family-friendly hikes.
Exploring all of Utah is something that you could spend your life doing and still have more to see! And endless lists could be written on the best hikes in any given area. So let’s focus on the Salt Lake area. Here are 22 kid-friendly hikes in the Salt Lake area that will leave you itching for more of what Utah has to offer!
This first hike is located in Centerville, Utah which is part of Davis County.
This hike is quite short, about 0.5 miles, but your reward is a beautiful waterfall! And who doesn’t love a waterfall? Much of the land surrounding the waterfall is on private property so you have to make sure that you approach from the Northside so that the owner’s land is kept free of people.
Google maps does not have this hike location but the coordinates are 4056’22.9”N 11152’13.5”W To get to this hike:
- go to Centerville and go North on Main street
- continue North until 1825 N
- turn right and follow that road until you reach Firebreak road
- take another right and continue for 0.2 miles until the road starts to go downward
- park and you will find the trail off to the right.
This hike can be done year-round, however, the road to get to it can be rough in the
winter months and a 4-wheel drive would be required.
Adams Canyon Lower Falls
Adams Canyon Waterfall is a well-known and very popular hike in Davis County. However, it can get crowded and is a strenuous hike that may be difficult for small children. So when you are looking for a family-friendly alternative, consider hiking the lower falls of Adam’s Canyon.
This offshoot of the main trail is much less known and thus never nearly as crowded. The hike is less than a mile with a gorgeous waterfall that you can walk behind if you are ok getting wet! To find your way to the lower falls, take the Adams canyon trail.
There will be 10 switchbacks, after which the trail levels off and there is a trail that branches off to the right of the main trail. From there, the trail is easy and relatively flat. As you approach the falls there is one section where you have to scale down about 7 feet of rocks to get to the falls.
Once there you can enjoy the beauty of the falls from any side of the falls that you choose.
Deuel Creek South
Another beautiful hike can be found in Davis County. This is a longer trail but has many beautiful places to stop along the way. Similar to a “choose your own adventure” novel, this hike allows you to follow the lead of your child and hike for as long as they remain interested and energized.
There is a waterfall four miles in and if you hike just past 2 miles in, there is a rope swing tied to a large tree that provides a lot of entertainment for the kiddos. The trail has several different terrains including bridges and sections of rocks to scale along the way.
There are also places on the trail where the drop-offs are steep so hold your child’s hand through these parts!
Located above the Bountiful LDS Temple, this is another hike that is good to choose your distance. The hike is rated as difficult but it is taking into account the entirety of the trail.
There are several bridges throughout the trail and when hiking with small children, these bridges become the perfect place to stop and have a snack before heading back.
This hike is in a canyon and the trail is initially a descent. Keep this in mind when hiking in the evenings as this hike will get dark sooner than most.
Wild Rose Trail
This beautiful trail is a total of two miles, making it a perfect distance for those small legs that are gaining their love of hiking. This trail is fully exposed with very few portions of shade. It offers stunning views at the top and gorgeous colors in the fall.
Rocky Mouth Falls
Located in a Draper, this hike is a very short one that ends in a beautiful waterfall. You are able to approach the waterfall and may even see rappelers coming down the falls in wet suits! The parking lot to this hike is below a neighborhood that you then walk through to get to the trailhead. It is illegal to park on the road near the trailhead.
While this hike is dismissed as a “real hike” by many due to the short distance, a total of 0.2 miles, but if you ask my husband it is the best kind of hike. Sometimes even the shortest distances can hold great adventures for children. Located up Big Cottonwood Canyon, these beautiful falls are just a short walk from the road. You do have to walk through water to reach the falls so make sure you are in appropriate shoes!
Located in Big Cottonwood Canyon, this hike is absolutely stunning.
This hike is 2.5 miles and rated as hard. But the great thing about this hike is you do not have to complete the whole hike to see some stunning views.
The trail has multiple offshoots that you can take to see several mini waterfalls along the way. This trail is a bit steep and so prepare for a good workout!
Located up Little Cottonwood Canyon, this hike is only available July through September depending on snowmelt. And parking is limited so get there early! You will see the most stunning wildflowers.
The hike is 1.1 miles and has fairly easy terrain but there are several switchbacks at the end. The Lake at the end has Tiger Salamander Larvae that you can try to catch and hold.
Please remember to be respectful to the creatures and that taking them from the lake would result in them dying. Being high in the canyons also provides great opportunities to see wildlife such as deer and moose. There is a lovely campground located at the trailhead that can help you take your adventure to a whole new level by staying the night!
This beautiful hike is located high up Big Cottonwood Canyon. A boardwalk encircles much of the lake, making it the perfect hike for little feet. This hike is extremely popular and gets crowded in the fall when people like to take advantage of the beautiful colors for their photoshoots.
It is very important to remember that the land around the boardwalks is protected and it is illegal to get off the boardwalk and walk in the marsh areas.
Silver Lake is another great place to see large wildlife such as moose. And if you are feeling more adventurous, there are several trails that branch off from Silver Lake and lead up to other beautiful lakes. These hikes will all have good elevation gain and distance.
Located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. This trail is wide and relatively easy. However, there are still some rocks and tree roots on the trail that give the tiniest legs a great opportunity to test out their balance and practice their hiking skills.
In order to reach the base of the falls, you have to cross the river. Make sure that you only do so when the water is low enough and you can do so safely.
Springtime is the most dangerous time to cross the river as the water is higher and faster than other times of the year. I have always carried my small children across. Some people choose to scale the falls to see the “donut” for which the falls are named. However, please note that the safety signs that state to not go beyond the sign.
Scout Falls via Mount Timpanogos Trail
Located in the Timpanogos wilderness, this hike is a must-see!
To begin this hike, you will start at the Mount Timpanogos trailhead. There is a large parking lot and bathrooms at the start.
You will take the Mount Timpanogos trail for 2.1 miles; at which time it will branch off to the left to get to Scout Falls. The trail is not shaded along big portions of it and so going early in the morning or in the evenings can help beat the heat.
At the end of the trail, there is a portion of tree roots that you must climb up to get to the falls. Additionally, the last several yards to the base of the falls has a steep drop off where people have slipped in the past.
Please be mindful of the little ones that you have with you and keep them safe over these sections. The reward will be incredible. Scout Falls is a beautiful mossy waterfall. And the view out from the waterfall is absolutely stunning, with rolling mountaintops for as far as the eye can see!
Located in Sandy, Utah this hike is a great hike with kids with a distance of 2.4 miles.
You can cut some distance off by stopping at the lake instead of hiking around the perimeter. The lake is beautiful and often ducks and geese can be seen swimming. If you are feeling adventurous, you can continue on from the lake up to a waterfall but the trail becomes much more difficult and less kid-friendly.
Waterfall Canyon Trail
If you are looking for a bit more difficult of a tail, this is a great one. The distance is only 2.4 miles but has a good incline and varying terrain. The waterfall at the end is massive and absolutely stunning.
Waterfall Canyon is north of Salt Lake, located in Ogden. There is a parking lot with bathrooms at the trailhead of the hike!
Willow Lake Trail
Located in the beautiful Big Cottonwood Canyon, this trail leads to a small lake high in the mountains and often has moose enjoying the water as well.
This trail has a good incline throughout the entire hike that can make it a bit more challenging than other trails.
There is no parking lot for this trail and so you will have to park along the side of Big Cottonwood Canyon road.
Located south of Salt Lake near Aspen Grove, Utah this is a waterfall you don’t want to miss! The hike is 3.4 miles with an easily navigated trail. It ends at a large waterfall that you can see from a high vantage point or hike down to below the falls.
The parking lot is not large and so getting to the trailhead early can ensure you get a spot!
Meadow Lava Tubes
This little trail is only 0.8 miles but full of excitement! Located in Oasis, Utah this trail can be difficult to access and 4 wheel drive is recommended. It takes some scaling of rocks to get down to the caves and small children will need help at these parts.
Also, it is good to be aware of the sharp lava rock that makes up the cave as it is very easy to hit your
head while climbing through the caves.
This is one of our favorite hikes ups Little Cottonwood Canyon.
The trail begins at the White Pine Trailhead. There is a parking lot and bathrooms but the hikes that begin here
are extremely popular and the parking fills up fast.
It is a fairly easy trail with a couple of steep parts at the end. The waterfall is wide, tiered and gorgeous. There are several flat areas around the falls that are perfect for picnicking and playing around.
Venturing a bit further from Salt Lake City is the Grotto located in Payson, Utah.
This hike is only 0.6 miles and is always popular. The tail follows along a creek that allows for several places for kids to play. The waterfall itself is tucked into the mountain, surrounded on three sides by rock wall. It creates a stunning sight.
Parrish Creek Pictograph Trail
Located in Centerville Utah, this hike is only 1.1 miles but moderately difficult with many steep drop offs. The trail leads to some beautiful pictograph art up on the rock walls.
While beautiful to see, it is important to remember to not disturb this artwork as it is a valuable piece of history!
Another very short and easy for children hike is Lisa Falls. Located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Lisa falls is only 0.3 miles and often busy.
The small trail leads to a beautiful waterfall that has a small flow and so it is best seen in the spring when water flow is at its highest.
Moss Ledge Waterfall
The final hike for our list is Moss Ledge, located in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
While this hike is only 0.4 miles, it is one that should be taken with caution. Especially
There is are portions of the hike that require a lot of scrambling up wet rocks as you follow the water. However, if you complete the hike, the payoff is a two-level waterfall and stunning views.
Enjoy hiking in Utah
Completing each of these hikes will just scratch the surface of what Utah has to offer and will leave you wanting more! So when you do make it back to Utah, remember to make time for the Mighty 5 National parks, the beauty of Southern Utah, the high Uintah Mountains and so much more!
Written by Guest, Rachel Sanchez from @beboldlittleones . Rachel is an avid and experienced hiker who loves to be outdoors hiking with her family in nature and surrounded by mountains. She is based in Utah but a lot of the times you will find her and her family in the outdoors exploring in their family converted van. You can connect with Rachel on Instagram and don’t forget to check out her beautiful photography:).
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Thank you and see you on the next adventure
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