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Backpacker Magazine – September 2009

Top 3 Family Dayhikes

Pack up your brood for a day in the outdoors with these kid-friendly trails.

by: Alistair Wearmouth

Climb a big (easy) peak.

Yellowstone National Park's 10,243-foot Mt. Washburn is a gentle giant. The payoff on this five-mile round-trip: 360-degree views of the country's first national park, including the maw of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and–on a clear day–the distant Tetons. A herd of bighorn sheep inhabits the upper slopes, plus there's a firetower (complete with restrooms) at the top. Start from the Chittenden Road trailhead for a steady 2.5-mile climb on a wide, gravelly trail up Washburn's open ridge. The three-mile Dunraven Pass Trail offers greater challenges: steep switchbacks and a ridgeline traverse. Either way, it's 1,400 feet of elevation gain, a huge accomplishment for kids about 8 and up.

The Carrot
Keep them climbing with the promise of huckleberry ice cream served in a homemade waffle cone–from Raccoon's in Gardiner. (406) 848-2240

The Way
Drive 4.7 miles north of Canyon Junction, on Canyon-Tower Rd., to Dunraven Pass Picnic Area. Chittenden Road trailhead is another 4.75 miles straight ahead.

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Reader Rating: -


Howard Hudson
Jul 21, 2011

In addition to the superb trails, there is an equine area on the other side of the Silver Falls Highway, and an overnight camping facility, as well. My two kids and I have hiked one area one day, then a different area the next, making for a pleasant weekend in the (nearby) woods.
Some folks swim, but for me the water is a bit brisk (glacial runoff and all).
It is picture-postcard perfect, but weekends, especially in the summer, can be crowded at times. If you want to camp, check if you will need to reserve a spot. Aside from sleeping and cooking, we spent almost no time in camp, so the other folks were not a deterrent for us.

Steve C
Oct 08, 2009

Previous post was regarding Silver Falls, OR

Steve C
Oct 08, 2009

This classic hike may have been my daughters first hike (via snuggly) at just a few weeks old. This is a great hike for families and parents. The beauty is calendar perfect - and chances are you've owned one with a photos of these falls.


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