Great Family Hikes: Chosen by the Editors of Backpacker
Hit the trail with your kids on these family-friendly hikes all over the country.
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Boston, MA: Ponkapoag Pond Loop
This scenic 4.2-mile hike in the Blue Hills Reservation loops under pines and passes by a rare Atlantic white cedar bog, perfect for budding bird-watchers.
Yellowstone National Park, WY: Ice Lake
Pass a waterfall, open meadows, lodgepole stands and a sparkling backcountry lake on this easy, 3.8-mile stroll through the heart of Yellowstone National Park.
Zion National Park, UT: Riverside Walk
Cruise the northern reaches of Zion’s monumental canyon on this 2-mile out-and-back that skirts the Virgin River, winds past hanging gardens, and touches the crimson-stained cliffs of the Narrows.
Arches National Park, UT: Delicate Arch
Climb a massive slickrock ribbon—perfect for kids to run around on—and stand beneath one of Arches National Park’s most iconic landmarks on this 3.1-mile out-and-back.
San Francisco, CA: Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve
See sunbathing elephant seals and trotting coyotes on an easy 3-miler in Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve.
Asheville, NC: Cedar Rock Loop
Climbing granite slickrock to a highpoint above DuPont State Forest, this 4.4-mile loop jogs back down into a dense forest toward a trailside swimming hole.
Atlanta, GA: Raven Cliff Falls
Waterfalls, lush forests, and magnificent creekside views make this 5-mile out-and-back through Cliff Falls Wilderness a superb dayhike in northern Georgia.
Atlanta, GA: Keys Branch (kids’ hike)
Go ahead, kids: Skip over creeks. Play in the mud. Catch bugs. This easy hike crams lots of wild fun into 3.4 miles.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Deep Creek Loop Trail
This moderate 5.5-mile loop on the eastern boundary of the Smokies combines stellar woodland hiking with superb waterfall exploration.
Linville, NC: Babel Tower
End your hike with a splash on this 2.8-mile out-and-back to a Pisgah National Forest swimming hole oasis
Nashville, TN: Radnor Lake Loop
Birds (240 species) far outnumber hikers on this 4.3-mile circuit in the rolling hills of Radnor Lake State Natural Area, a real paradise for ornithology enthusiasts—and a great place to take kids to explore.
Washington, DC: Great Falls Loop
This 4.6-miler runs along steep cliffs to two photogenic overlooks above an impressive waterfall on the Potomac River.
Olympic National Park: Cape Alava Loop
Link rainforest, old-growth cedar stands, and a rugged sea coast peppered with isolated rock columns on this 8.7-mile loop in Olympic National Park.