Ensign Peak Trail is a very popular trail among the locals. It starts just outside of downtown Salt Lake City. Ensign Peak is fantastic for families of all sizes. When you get to the top the view of the mountains are amazing. Round trip it is only 1 mile, and has an elevation gain of 398 feet. At the beginning and end of the trail is plaques that tell its historical significance, which makes it a fun history lesson. It also has spiritual significance for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To get there go to the State Capitol, then keep driving up the mountain into the neighborhood until you cannot go any further. You will see an LDS church right next to the trail head.
The trail is open till 10:00 PM, and it is fun to see the Salt Lake valley on a summer night, but don’t stay too long. You will get a parking ticket after 10:00pm. The downside to this trail is even on a clear day you still have the Salt Lake City smog, and there is a lot of dog feces and other garbage littering the trail. Feel free to bring a bag and help clean up some of the litter. There is a trash can at the beginning of the trail.
Utah State Capitol
Another fun item while you are there is to go to the State Capitol. The granite building is remarkable. There is a trail path surrounding the Capitol that is lined with benches and trees. There are other interesting statues around the Capitol building, for example: Mormon Battalion statue, Native American, beehive, and even some Lion statues. You can also schedule a tour at utah.gov.
Limber Pine Nature Trail is a must explore if you are in the Bear Lake area. The trail is only 1.3 miles round trip. The trail is an interpretive trail that has many signs along the way that explain many unknown facts. The trail is located next to Sunrise campground, and the Bear Lake overlook. The trail head and parking are located on South side of the street. Please see the google map for exact location. The elevation gain is minimal, and the trails are wide. With all the signs to read and all the interesting sights to see, like odd looking trees, expect 1.5 hours. The highlight is the 2600 year old Limber pine tree. The tree is among the oldest trees in the state of Utah. This trail is perfect for families, and kids usually enjoy it. It is on the summit of the mountain with high elevation, therefore it is a fantastic stop in the Summer months. The trail is mostly shaded and doesn’t get too hot. Bear Lake has so many beautiful areas and things to do. Don’t forget to do this one on your way in or out.
Be sure to take a lot of pictures and take you time to enjoy this beautiful area.
While in the area be sure to stop by the Bear Lake Overlook as well.
Traveling to Bryce Canyon with the family? Not sure what the kids will enjoy? Here are our top picks for family friendly hikes in Bryce Canyon:
1. Navajo Trail
This is trail is 1.8 miles long and starts and ends at Sunrise Point. The whole trail is a loop and you end up at where you started (part of the loop is closed in the winter). The elevation change is about 550 feet. If you complete the loop you will see Two Bridges, Thors Hammer, and the bottom of Wall Street. Trail can be steep at times. This is a popular trail in Bryce Canyon and estimated time to complete is 1-2 hours. If 1.8 miles is too long you can come back the same way you came and still see some amazing sights.
2. Mossy Cave
Mossy Cave is a perfect hike for the little ones. It is only 0.8 miles round trip, and a elevation gain of 200 feet. The end of the hike is a small cave that looks pretty cool. There is also a small waterfall that is pretty amazing. Most of the trail follows a small river that the kids will love. The surrounding scenery is also pretty amazing. This has all the key ingredients kids love, waterfall, cave, creek, bridge, and short distance.
3. Rim Trail
The Rim Trail edges the rim of the Bryce Canyon amphitheater. As you walk the Rim Trail you constantly view the amphitheater at different angles and gives different perspectives. The view along the trail is spectacular. To walk the entire Rim Trail would take many hours as it covers a large portion of the amphitheater, but you just walk the sections you would like and go as far as the family would like to go. One suggestion is Sunrise Point to Sunset rim walk is only 0.5 miles.
4. Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point has three lookout vistas. Each lookout give an amazing view of the amphitheater. Walking to all three is a round trip of about 0.5 miles. Relax, and enjoy the view and be sure to take many photos. There are parts that do not have guard rails, so keep the little ones close.
5. Bryce Point
Bryce Point is higher in elevation, sitting at 8300 feet gives you a much higher view. The distance you can view is incredible. It gives you an entire view of the amphitheater and surrounding mountains. My kids were excited they could spot the little town of Tropic. The walk to the view is a round trip of only 0.2 miles and it is paved. There are guard rails on the trail to help keep everyone safe.
What are your favorite spots in Bryce Canyon to take the family?
Donut Falls (doughnut falls) is located 9 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Look for the sign Mill D Trail head. Drive South past the summer homes until you are at the Donut Falls trail head. There will be a small unpaved parking lot. From the trail head it is about a mile round trip hike. This is a very popular hike it can be difficult to find parking at the trail head on weekends and holidays. It is an excellent place to see the changing leaves in the Fall, and a good place to do a little snowshoeing in the winter.
The end of the trail is where the waterfall is. The water falls down a rock circle that looks like a donut. In order to see this waterfall you have to climb very steep rocks. As of last time I went there was no ropes or support system to help with this steep climb. Also when I went there were two people who got injured trying to climb the steep rocks to see the waterfall. One person was a teenager whose dad had to carry him back to the trail head. Please be careful if you attempt to climb up to see the waterfall.
Little Cottonwood Creek Trail is located 2.7 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The trail head is on the South side of the road. This is an easy trail, perfect for a quick get away to the mountains and to enjoy some relaxation. Perfect place for meditation, or reading, while hearing the wind through the tall trees and hearing the beautiful sound of the river. It is also a fantastic place to take photos. Take the entire family or just relax by yourself.
You can hike up the Little Cottonwood Creek trail as it follows the river for about a half mile or down the trail as it ends at the mouth of the canyon. There is a lot of room for exploration here, with wide trails that are also suitable for bikes.
There are a lot of fuzzy caterpillars around, but you don’t need to worry about them. They don’t bite.
On a hot summer day, this is really a fantastic place to cool yourself off with the colder air in the mountains. The river is soothing to listen to, and there is also plenty of shade available. This hike is incredibly kid friendly, easy, and not strenuous in the least. It really is just a nice, relaxing experience.
Bells Canyon is a favorite for us. It’s long and steep enough to be challenging for the kids (and the adults, yes I admit it), and we feel a real sense of accomplishment when we make it to the reservoir.
We stopped along the hike a few times to catch breath…and take pictures! The photos above are evidence of that. 🙂 The views on the way up are great, as you can see the city down below.
Here is the view when you first arrive at the reservoir. The kids were so happy to have made it!
Once you get there, you can explore the area. There are benches, and plenty of rocks right up at the reservoir that you can sit on. There are snakes in the area, and although I don’t see them often, we did once…so don’t be surprised if you see a critter!
You can continue up further to the lower falls if you choose too as well from here. That’s another beautiful hike, and it’s about another 1.5 miles up from the reservoir. The lower falls hike is considered moderate, and the hike up to the upper falls is much more strenuous.
There are two trail head options for Bells Canyon Reservoir. The one we use is found by taking 9400 S. eastward to Wasatch Blvd. Continue east past the light and park in the lot at the right (maybe a half-block past the light). This one gives you a hike that is a littler over 3/4 mile. There is another trail head located at 10245 south on Wasatch Blvd. It is a shorter hike (1/2 mile) but steeper.
Battle Creek Trail is a fun hike, and our kids highly enjoyed it! Located in Utah County (Pleasant Grove), it’s easily accessible to most and super kid-friendly.
The pathway is a really wide one, following the stream up a little over a half-mile to the falls. The waterfall is really pretty and it’s fun to walk right up to the base and let the water cascade down your hands. Dogs are welcome, and we saw a few enjoying the journey with their families.
When we went (in May), the place was covered with butterflies! We had so much fun chasing after them and watching them flutter by. It was simply beautiful there!
Once you get to the “top” of the falls (in other words, you’ll be able to see the falls like pictured above), you can take the trail to the right that goes down and enjoy the base of the falls.
To get to the Battle Creek Falls trail, go to Pleasant Grove, and take 200 S. heading East. Follow the road all the way up and it will literally dead end into a dirt parking lot. The trail head is marked with the obvious part of the trail.
Rocky Mouth Waterfall is a fantastic short family hike; perfect for young kids. It is only 0.4 miles from the trail head to the waterfall. The elevation gain is about 280 feet. We really love this one!
The trail head starts right off Wasatch Blvd. The Trail head address is 11248 S Wasatch Blvd, Sandy Utah. Just look for the parking lot on the East side of the street. On the West side of the street where the trail head is located, you’ll see an LDS church building.
Once you have found the trail head, you can head East. There is a neighborhood and you will walk up the street (South) for about 3 houses until the opening of the trail, which is in-between two houses. It’s super easy to spot.
Rocky Mouth Trail is a perfect place to cool off on a warm day and enjoy nature. It’s fairly popular, so there will likely be other people there, although it’s not usually crowded. Please be careful, people have tried to hike up the waterfall area and gotten stuck. Please stay on the trail. We have enjoyed this hike a few times as a family, and we continue to enjoy it each time.
Hidden Falls is so short, I don’t know if it qualifies as a hike, or if it’s more of a short walk. It’s a fun, fantastic spot for the kids though, and it’s a place I definitely recommend! We rarely find other people there when we go.
This is actually where Clay and I went to get our engagement pictures taken. I’d never heard of it, and we didn’t go back again for years, so I had nearly forgotten about it. I’m so glad we started taking our kids to fun places like this so that we could rediscover the beauty of this place!
To get there, go 4.4 miles up from the mouth of the Big Cottonwood Canyon. The “mouth” of the canyon is at the intersection of Wasatch Blvd and Fort Union Blvd. You’ll get to what’s known as the S Curve in the canyon, and there will be a parking lot on your right. You can park there (the “bottom” of the S Curve) or you can go further up and park at the second lot on your right as well.
You’ll have to cross the street to get to the trail head, so make sure to hold hands with your kiddos and be safe. Once across the street, you’ll see a signed trail head for the Mill B Hike along with some “stairs”, but don’t follow the stairs. Instead, veer to the left and follow the dirt trail to the falls. If you’re unsure where to go, just follow the stream, and it’ll lead you right there. It’s literally only a 5 minute walk, if that to be able to see the falls.
It’s a gorgeous, fun falls, and the kids will likely enjoy taking their shoes off and wading in the freezing cold water! The rocks just below the falls are slick, so use caution.
The Hidden Falls hike is a quick, easy one. You’ll likely be in and out in 30 minutes. The kids sure love playing in it, though!