Our favorite family hikes in Utah

Hiking is one of our favorite things to do as a family. Sometimes, it’s a magical, nature-communing experience. Other times, it’s a whiny disaster and my kids claim they can’t take one more step.

Things that (sometimes) save us from mid-hike meltdowns: Kid-sized Camelbaks, plenty of snacks, a good Spotify playlist, and a treat or reward for finishing the hike.

The more we hike, the more the kids realize they’re stronger than they think and the more they get into it. We went a lot this summer, about once a week, and we plan to keep it up so our kids grow up thinking hiking is just a part of life!

For reference, our kids are 7, 5, and 2. We carry our baby in a hiking backpack.

Here are some of our favorite family-friendly Utah trails, in no particular order:

Willow Heights

This is one of the most beautiful hikes I know of. You wind through a grove of aspen trees, into an open meadow, then to a pretty lake. Gorgeous and not highly trafficked. There is a steep part at the beginning (and end) of the trail, but nothing you can’t handle. More info here.

Utah family hikes - Willow Heights

The lake at Willow Heights

 

Stewart Falls

A Utah County classic. Highly trafficked, so opt for earlier mornings, weekdays, and non-holidays. More info here.

Utah family hikes: Stewart Falls

 

Donut Falls

Although the “donut” doesn’t look quite as cool as it did when I was a kid, it’s still a great hike with kids. We like to bring donuts for them to eat at the end. We’ve hiked Donut Falls a few times, but all I could find was this super pregnant picture of me a few days I gave birth to our third babe. Goes to show it’s not too strenuous of a hike! More info here.

Hiking Utah with kids: Donut Falls

 

Scout Falls

I braved this one with a friend and the six kids between us. It was a little much at times without the husbands, but doable. It’s a really pretty trail. Mostly shady, and with little streams crossing the trail at several places. I wouldn’t go after a lot of rainfall — it can get a bit muddy. More info here.

Utah family hikes: Scout Falls

 

Grotto Falls

This was the shortest hike we did all summer. It took us maybe 15 minutes to get to the falls, but they were gorgeous, and the kids were stoked! Bring water shoes. Heading to the lavender farms and/or Rowley’s Red Barn afterwards is always a good idea. More info here.

Utah family hikes: Grotto Falls

 

Cascade Springs

Although more of a walk than a hike, this is another one at the very top of my list. It’s a little sanctuary of beauty and wonder. All the tiny streams are magical. This one is especially pretty in the fall. More info here.

Utah family trails: Cascade Springs trailhead

Utah family trails: Cascade Springs

Utah family trails: Cascade Springs

 

Ghost Falls

A lesser-known, pretty hike in the backyard of where I grew up. the falls are small and slightly hidden (you can hear them more than see them, which is where they got their spooky name) But we loved the different kinds of trees and flora we saw on the trail. And we caught a lizard! You might even tell ghost stories along the way. Another great fall pick. More info here. 

Utah family trails: Ghost Falls

 

Timpanogos trail

We’ve actually never taken our kids to the caves, but we love doing the short paved trail you can do for free and without a guide on the way to the caves. We usually go about a mile up or so. The kids love the archways and doors along the trail. More info here.

Utah family trails: Timpanogos Caves trail

 

Cecret Lake

This one is a must during wildflower season. The lake is so clear and pristine. And we always see at least one moose along the way! More info here.

Utah family trails: Cecret Lake

Utah family trails: Cecret Lake

Utah family hikes: Cecret Lake

 

Lofty Lake Loop

This is a serene hike through the Uintas dotted with lakes and incredible views all along the way. I recommend going in the summer or early fall. Too much snow makes it tough with little ones unless you’ve got tall boots and very resilient kids! Plan for 3-4 hours with kids. More info here.

Utah family hikes: Lofty Lake Loop

Utah family hikes: Lofty Lake Loop

Utah family hikes: Lofty Lake Loop

Runners up: Battle Creek Falls, Ensign Peak, Bell’s Canyon, Ruth Lake, and Mirror Lake.

Now I want to hear your favorites!

For our favorite hikes in Moab, click here.

 

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