Outside the Valley * Fun Hikes for the Kids

Our favorite thing to do as a family in Utah is explore the state’s beautiful outdoors. Since my two children are under the age of three we can't do anything too extreme and have to make sure areas are kid friendly. I am big on regular "unstructured play in nature." Studies show that children are smarter, more cooperative, happier and healthier when they have frequent opportunities for free and unstructured play outdoors. It gives them the chance to explore, dream, pretend, experiment and come to their own conclusions at their own pace. If you would like to read more studies dedicated to this movement and a plethora of ideas to do as a family I highly suggest Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.
The following are "tested and approved" by my girls and are our top three favorite places in Utah for unstructured play:
No.1 Yellow Fork

Yellow Fork is hidden in Herriman and is a surprisingly nice trail in the Oquirrh Mountain foothills at Rose Canyon. We actually refer to it as our "Secret Spot" but I guess it will no longer be a secret! In the summer I love this trail even more because most of it is nicely shaded and it is usually about 5 to 10 degrees cooler. It is a beautiful drive to the entrance of the trail. This is where we go when we have a few grumpy days in a row!

No.2 American Fork Canyon

Everyone knows about this place but did you know they have a nature trail just for kids? Along the trail are different markers with numbers on them that go along with a corresponding handout made for young nature explorers. It teaches them all about different types of leaves, plants and animals. As soon as fall begins to show its colors, head up there as fast as you can--it is stunning!

No.3 River Front Park
This is a beautiful park hidden behind a neighborhood in South Jordan; it also is along the Jordan River Parkway. There are two fishing lakes, a bat house down the trail and large fields in which to play. The girls and I have spotted some really awesome wildlife I don't think we’ve seen anywhere else in Utah. The fishing ponds are surrounded by beautiful plants and this is a must-see place!
I could go on and on with my list. I would love to learn about even more local kid-friendly nature areas so please share! The girls and I also host community "Nature Days" where everyone is welcome to come and have fun with us while enjoying nature!


Emily Hill said...

Thank you for this great post! I love finding new places to take the kids!

Pink Peony said...

I have an awards for you...stop by :)