Tips to choose the perfect family-friendly trails to explore over the weekend

Patrick Swanson / December 12,2022

If your family loves to explore the great outdoors then hiking the trails, mountains, and awesome National Parks of the US is a dream come true. Escaping the confines of your home and getting out into the fresh air of the backcountry is an experience that brings families together and soothes the soul.

Of course, not everyone has time to plan grand expeditions to the best National Parks or highest mountain peaks. But thankfully this really isn’t necessary! There are brilliant, kid-friendly hikes and trails across the length and breadth of the US, and chances are you are only a couple of hours away from amazing places to explore, wherever you are in the country.


So whether you want to explore the Pacific coast, wander through the rugged Appalachian Mountains, or just pack your bags and find your nearest bit of nature and get outside, here are some of the best family-friendly hiking trails to explore over the weekend.

The Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches for 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada and is one of the most iconic and scenic hiking trails in the US. It passes through some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the country, including the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the North Cascades. There are plenty of sections that are perfect for a weekend hike with kids like Sequoia and Kings Canyon where you can discover towering redwoods, gorgeous waterfalls, and breathtaking mountain vistas.

The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is another legendary long-distance hiking trail that runs for 2,180 miles from Georgia to Maine. It’s a great option for families, with plenty of easy and moderate sections that are perfect for kids.

The Continental Divide Trail

The Continental Divide Trail is another extraordinary long-distance trail that stretches for 3,100 miles from right the way from the northern to the southern border of the US. It passes through some of the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes in the country, including the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, and the Cascade Mountains. Taking on the entire trail is too much for any adventurer, but there are plenty of sections that are perfect for families, like the Rocky Mountain National Park which offers jagged mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and wonderful wildlife.

The John Muir Trail

The John Muir Trail runs for 211 miles through California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It is named after the famous naturalist and conservationist John Muir and winds its way through some of the most attractive landscapes in the country. This is probably the most challenging trail on this list, with some steep ascents and descents, but it is great for the most adventurous of families. Best of all, the trail ends at the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous US.

Hiking opportunities for families of all ages are easy to find in every corner of the US and these are just a few examples! So next time you feel the urge, wrap and warm and take your kids exploring in the great outdoors.