After two years of working from home, stress eating, and binging reality television it seems like the clouds have finally parted to allow us to return to normalcy. While it’s easy to get caught up in our daily responsibilities of work, school, and whatever else life throws at us, it’s also important to get plenty of exercise and breathe fresh air. For parents it’s not always easy to balance your responsibilities while maintaining your fitness levels, but this guide to some of our favorite family-friendly trails across the United States will help you manage your mental and physical health while your kids are having a great time. So lace up your trainers, grab some water, and tell the world to go take a hike!
Griffith Park — Los Angeles
One of the most sought after and iconic trails in all of Southern California is the Charlie Turner Trail. After parking near the Observatory begin your ascent towards Mt. Hollywood. While there, be sure to watch out for scattered horse droppings as they are allowed on several trails. While enjoying your hike be sure to stop at least once to reward yourself with a birds eye view of Los Angeles and its surrounding counties as well as stunning, up close views of the Hollywood sign. The round-trip is less than three miles, with an elevation of roughly 1,000 feet above famous landmarks like the Hollywood walk of fame and Beverly Hills. Be sure to pack plenty of TANRI SPF30 sunscreen as temperatures can climb quite high on a clear day. Certainly one of LA’s most infamous parks, families can have fun exploring the areas museums, trains, merry-go-rounds, and trails-lots and lots of trails!
Upper Gorge Trail - Ithaca, New York
If hiking in lush forests is what you’re after, this trail in Northern New York should be your next destination. This moderately difficult hike follows cascading waterfalls and a wealth of wildlife as Enfield Creek cascades toward the Cayuga Inlet. The Upper Gorge Trail is the shortest route from the Upper Park Trailhead to Lucifer Falls - a 110 foot waterfall aptly named for the expression people shout when they see its impressive size. Although hikers with strollers and younger children may find the climb a bit tiring, the unique paths cut out of bedrock offer tons of family friendly fun with a spectacular reward at the end.
The Narrows, Zion National Park - Utah
Stanbery Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
For those of us that live in more urban areas that lack access to public trails and parks getting outside-especially with your family, can be difficult. This 125 acre park located in the heart of Cincinnati offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Known as the city’s “best kept secret” children of all ages can explore miles of trails, play areas, and creeks while you work on beating your fastest mile time. With dozens of choices for food and lodging nearby, Stanbery Park is the perfect place to get away from it all while getting some miles in. GO Bengals!
Lake Houston Wilderness Park - Houston, Texas
They say that everything is bigger in Texas and this state park is no exception. Spend the weekend camping or take a simple day trip at Lake Houston Wilderness Park, and hike to your heart's content! There are 20 miles of hike-and-bike trails, including smaller options for little kids like Hoot Owl Trail (.3 miles) and the Lake Isabel Loop Trail (.4 miles), or for enthusiasts looking for a challenge, try tackling the longer Loggers Loop (3.6 miles) and AmeriTrail (3.8 miles). Near the park entrance, a Nature Center provides hours of fun for the kids while you experience Lake Isabel’s lush landscapes.
For travelers looking to camp, hike, and explore America’s parks without breaking the bank KOA trails offer the same outdoor experience at a family friendly price point. Kampgrounds of America connects everyone to the outdoors with over 500+ locations in every state. Whether you need a perfect site to pull into on your next RV road trip or a cozy spot where you and your kids can pitch your tent after conquering that last mile, KOA is sure to have the ideal campsite for you. Most campsites offer plenty of amenities to keep your family happy and are located close to trails suited for every type of runner. So the next time you find yourself feeling like you need to connect with nature, explore the world, and test your running ability, don’t leave your family at home!