Best Family Friendly Hikes in U.S. National Parks with Breathtaking Vi – Just Go Travel Studios

Best Family Friendly Hikes in U.S. National Parks with Breathtaking Views

Acadia National Park Arches National Park Badlands National Park Capitol Reef National Park Channel Islands National Park Crater Lake National Park Grand Teton National Park Theodore Roosevelt National Park Yellowstone National Park Yosemite National Park

U.S. National Parks are famous for their incredible scenery. Some of the most iconic views, like Tunnel View can be seen from a parking lot. However, you’d be missing out if you didn’t lace up your hiking boots and leave the pavement and boardwalks to see these gorgeous vistas!


Potato Harbor Trail Information in Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park is only accessible by boat or plane, but we can assure you that the 60-minute cruise to get to Santa Cruz Island is worth the time and money. Once we left the boat and hiked away from Scorpion Anchorage, we were on our own for most of the day. If you like to hike and are looking for an amazing day trip adventure while visiting the coast of California, pack a lunch, board an Island Packers cruise, and take a hike to Potato Harbor. We also wrote about our amazing time in Channel Islands National Park, which you can review on our site as well.

Potato Harbor in Channel Islands National Park



Delicate Arch Trail Information for Arches National Park

Delicate Arch is a stone icon and people from around the world flock to Arches National Park to get a look. However, don’t let the idea of crowds dissuade you-it IS impressive. No matter the time of year, you’ll want to set out early in the morning to do this popular hike (and get a parking spot). Getting there requires a moderate to difficult 3-mile roundtrip hike with no shade, so make sure to bring plenty of water.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park






Taggart Lake Trail Information in Grand Teton National Park

There are so many stunning hikes and viewpoints in Grand Teton National Park that it can be hard to choose where to spend your time. The Taggart Lake trail is one of the park’s easier hikes, yet it offers incredible views of the Teton Mountain range the entire way out to the lake. We recommend combining it with the Beaver Creek trail to climb the glacial moraine and loop back to your car along the Beaver Creek. Or, if you feel a bit more ambitious, try the Taggart Lake-Bradley Lake loop which adds a little distance but provides a nice variety of scenery for your return trip. You can read about Taggart Lake Hike in our detailed blog, Taggart Lake (with the Beaver Creek Loop).

Taggart Lake Trail in Grand Teton National Park


Uncle Tom's Trail Information in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is full of geologic wonders that can be viewed from boardwalks, but if you are in shape and aren’t afraid of climbing back up 328 steps, we think Uncle Tom’s trail is a must-do. There’s no better way to get up close and personal with the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and feel the power of the Lower Falls. When we visited in June of 2017, the parking lot to Tom’s Trail was closed for construction and we had to hike down from the trail starting at Artist Point. This is a great way to extend the otherwise short hike and enjoy views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone away from the crowds at Artist Point.

Our son Andrew went over his experience on Uncle Tom's Trail as well-check it out.

Yellowstone Falls from the bottom of Uncle Tom's Trail in Yellowstone National Park



Caprock Coulee Trail Information for Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Most people that visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park never make the ~1 hour drive up to the North Unit. There are so many beautiful overlooks in this park, but we think hiking in the uncrowded North Unit is a must! The Caprock Coulee trail is a hidden gem with spectacular scenery and fascinating geology. We only ran into a handful of hikers on this trail on a June morning. Perhaps the sign warning visitors about the presence of bison, poison ivy, and rattlesnakes scared everyone else away??? 

Our blog post dedicated entirely to our experience at the Caprock-Coulee trail in Theodore Roosevelt National Park is also worth reading if you want more information.  We also cover Theodore Roosevelt National Park extensively in our blog on the Five Reasons You'll Fall in Love with Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Caprock Coulee Trail in Theodore Roosevelt National Park




Sentinel Dome Trail Information for Yosemite National Park

If you want to experience panoramic views away from the crowds at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, the hike to Sentinel Dome is worth a little effort. It is relatively easy, aside from the short steep climb up to the top of the dome. We left the parking lot early in the morning and were lucky to share the dome with only a couple other families. Looking to the north, you can see El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. To the east are views of Half Dome, Nevada Falls and Clouds Rest. To the west, you can look down into Yosemite Valley. Of note, the high altitude may bother some and it is best hiked in the summer when the trail is dry. The Glacier Point Road, which you need to take to access the trailhead, is closed to cars in the winter.

A view from Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park


Sun Notch Trail information in Crater Lake National Park

This hike is a quick loop just off Rim Road and is a great way to see Crater Lake National Park for the first time if driving in from the south of the park. We were shocked that the parking lot for this trailhead was nearly empty since this hike offers a big payoff for very little effort. The Sun Notch Trail is a great hike, even for little kids. We enjoyed watching as our three (ages 6, 8 and 10 at the time) reached the edge of the rim and gazed in wonder at the striking blue water of the lake below. Two different lookouts offer fantastic views of Phantom Ship and Wizard Island. We also spotted our first yellow-bellied marmot on the return trip to the car. If you want your first view of the lake to be away from the crowds of tourists at the visitor center, make this your first stop!

A view from the Sun Notch Trail in Crater Lake National Park



Hickman Bridge Trail in Capitol Reef National Park Information

Capitol Reef National Park is one of Utah’s lesser known National Parks.  Many drive through this park without stopping.  However, just off the main road (Highway 24) and right near the visitor center is the Hickman Bridge Trail.  This relatively short hike offers a variety of scenery, including passing alongside the Fremont River, views of the fruit orchard and amazing monoliths (such as the Navajo Dome and Pectol’s Pyramid).  The trail ends at the 125 foot long natural bridge, which stands 133 feet above the ground.  Nearby the bridge is a good amount of shade, offering much needed cover before heading back downhill to the parking lot.  There really is no excuse for not taking a little more than an hour and experiencing this amazing trail!  We also wrote about our experiences on the Hickman Bridge Trail in our blog, which you can review on our site as well.

Hickman Bridge Trail in Capitol Reef National Park



Notch Trail Information in Badlands National Park

Located near the famous Wall Drug in South Dakota, Badlands National Park is known for its rugged scenery.  You come here expecting to see vast areas of nothingness, and you may not expect to find grand vistas, or wonderful trails.  The Notch Trail will definitely surprise you!  It is one of the top-rated trails in the park, and terrific for families.  After a flat walk, the only real uphill part of the hike is up a giant log ladder with over 40 steps!  After climbing the ladder, the trail heads along a cliffside before a brief climb rewards hikers with a terrific view of the surrounding prairie.  Make sure you start on this trail early!  The line at the ladder can be long, and if it is the popular summertime months, the trail can be quite hot!  We wrote about this great family hike in our blog on The Notch Trail

If you are thinking of visiting the Badlands, you’ll also want to read our blog on Badlands National Park!

A view from the end of the Notch Trail in Badlands National Park



Beehive Loop Trail Information in Acadia National Park

Maine is out of the way for most people in the United States, and Acadia National Park is in a remote part of Maine.  Still, this park is wonderful to visit, especially in the summer months.  One of the best hikes for able-bodied families is the Beehive Loop Trail.  This hike features multiple ladders on the side of a mountain and ends with a spectacular view of Sand Beach and Frenchman Bay.  This hike is perfect for kids and families who like big adventure in a short hike!  After you reach the summit, make sure you continue to the pond on the “The Bowl” trail, where you can relax on a shaded beach and take a dip to cool off!

We covered the Beehive Loop Trail in depth in our blog-check it out for more detailed information!

Acadia National Park Beehive Trail, a view from the top


Lost Mine Trail Information

If Acadia National Park in Maine is out of the way, then Big Bend National Park qualifies as being one of the most remote parks in the continental U.S.  This park is about two hours from anything, and 4.5 hours from the nearest large city, El Paso.  Still, it is worth the journey and full of surprises!  Our first hike in the park, the Lost Mine Trail, left us struck with awe as we climbed out of the Chisos Basin to the peak that overlooked Juniper Canyon.  What we loved in particular about this hike was the 0.2-mile long, flat mountain peak.  There were plenty of places to sit and relax and take in the view.

This hike is uphill most of the way, but it is steady and not too steep, making it a great one for little hikers.  We covered this hike in detail in our blog on the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend National Park, Lost Mine Trail





We offer downloadable National Park itineraries with great hints and tips for over 30 National Parks. Check out our downloadable itineraries here.

Learn More about our Itineraries Now!

Channel Islands National Park Itinerary

Yellowstone National Park Itinerary

Arches National Park Itinerary

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Itinerary

Yosemite National Park Itinerary




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