Top 5 Tuesday – Trails to Trek With the Kids This Fall
Fall has arrived, the leaves are starting to change, and cool mornings followed by crisp sunshine-y afternoons have replaced the scorching hot temps. So how will you enjoy the change in seasons with your family? How about a hiking adventure—combining quality family time with exploration of nature and the fall foliage seems like a win-win to me. But does it seem a bit bold to you? You may be picturing your kids having a mini-meltdown because they’re tired while not even halfway to the end. But, don’t you worry! We’ve got you, because we’ve put together a list of our top five kid-friendly trails within our top five fall destinations.
So, pack some good tennies, enough snacks and water to stay hydrated and prevent a “hangry” meltdown, and toys to keep the little ones preoccupied if they don’t seem interested in taking in the natural beauty of their surroundings. Here’s to these fall treks helping you burn off all that unstoppable energy of the kiddos and letting you savor hiking’s best season of all!
1. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains
Bringing your newborn or infant along for the journey? You’re in luck, as this trail is perfect for you! It is the only trail within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that is wheelchair accessible, so it is relatively flat. The kids, and their little legs, will be able to hike it, and if you’d prefer to take them for a ride instead, it’s even fit for strollers. While on the half-mile route, you’ll enjoy a relaxing stroll beside the stream and set your sights on remains of old Smoky Mountain vacation homes from early 1900s.
Distance from Wyndham Great Smoky Mountains resorts:
–Wyndham Smoky Mountains: 15 miles
–Wyndham Vacation Resorts Great Smokies Lodge: 20 miles
2. Boynton Vista Trail, Sedona
Again, Boynton Vista Trail is yet another trek that even children 10 and under will have the opportunity to enjoy. Its fairly short distance (.60 miles to be exact), in comparison to other popular Sedona trails, makes it a favorite among families. While on your journey, you’ll enjoy a steady climb up to one of the area’s many unique rock formations—the Boynton Spires. And once you reach the end of the route, which is doable within an hour or less, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the mystical desert town.
Distance from Wyndham Sedona Resort: 6.5 miles
3. Swaner Preserve Wetlands Discovery Trail, Park City
Not only a trail, but also a great learning experience, the Swaner Preserve Wetlands Discovery Trail will keep the kiddos entertained. Start off at the Swaner Ecocenter to pick up a discovery map and the code to access the boardwalk-surfaced trail, and get started on your adventure! The entire family will love the self-guided, ¾ mile out-and-back interactive experience with eight pit stops along the way that correspond with fun facts in the brochure. And if you’re looking for a little something extra to really tire out those energizer bunnies of yours, venture back into the ecocenter and find exhibits, a climbing wall, and so much more!
Distance from Wyndham Park City Resort: 3.2 miles
4. Sterling Pond Trail, Smugglers’ Notch
Many things factor into the reason behind this trail being such a popular tourist destination, but just a few being the pond and incredible views every which way you look. At just about a 2-mile journey, Sterling Pond Trail leads to the highest trout pond in Vermont. If your kids are a bit older, this hike would be a match for them as it’s a slightly steep march to the top.
Distance from Wyndham Vacation Resorts Smugglers’ Notch: 2.4 miles
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, Near Branson
Located in Lampe, Missouri, Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, which is spread across more than 10,000 acres, offers visitors stunning vistas of the Ozark Mountains. The 6.5 miles of paved walking trail will take you past limestone bluffs and waterfalls, and if you’re wanting much more than just a hiking excursion, you’ve come to the right place. The nature park features additional activities such as biking, fishing, horseback riding, and tram tours. So make a day out of it as you make the drive to this piece of paradise in Missouri!
Distance from Wyndham Mountain Vista: 28 miles (a little bit farther than the previously mentioned trails to and from the resort, but it’s well worth it!)