If you’re looking for ways to introduce your kids to hiking, it’s important to start them on trails that appeal to them. Get them out on trails that are not too long, nor too short. Kids like hikes that aren’t boring, but not too challenging either. They like to see cool stuff and go off trail to explore. Thankfully, numerous trails around Arizona meet these kid-friendly requirements.
I’m a member of several hiking groups online and one of the most common questions I see is where to take kids hiking. I’ve scoured the discussions and found many of best hiking trails for kids in Arizona, as recommended by hikers with youngsters. There are so many, I had to categorize them by region.
Pro tip: Many of the same trails that are good for kids are also good for seniors.
How to plan your Arizona hike with kids
- Narrow down what part of the state you want to hike in
- Scan the list below and make note of two or three of the trail names for that area
- Search trail descriptions, mileage and photos on alltrails.com or hikearizona.com
- Research whether passes, permits or parking fees apply
- Plan your hike to avoid the hottest time of day
- Pack plenty of water and snacks for all members of your party
- Make it more fun by creating a scavenger hunt challenge
If a trail name below is clickable, it links you to a write-up with photos that I’ve posted on this site.
Dreamy Draw Recreation Area
South Mountain Park
- Fat Mans Pass via Hidden Valley
- Kiwanis Trail
Kids love exploring the “caves” on Double Butte Loop.
- Double Butte Loop
- Hole in the Rock
Spur Cross Conservation Area
- Dragonfly Trail
- Jewel of the Creek
- Metate Trail
- Waterfall trail at White Tank Mountains Regional Park
- Landslide in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve
East (of Phoenix) Valley
Usery Mountain Regional Park
- El Peak (its the hill north of Usery mtn park, east side of the road)
- Vista Trail
- Wind Cave Trail
Wind cave is nice. There is a “cave” (more of a cove) at the top with squirrels and chipmunks living there.
- Butcher Jones Trail, Saguaro Lake
- Cat’s Peak, Mesa
- Dynamite Trail, San Tan Mountain Regional Park
- Garden Valley Loop, Tortilla Flat
- Hieroglyphic Trail, Gold Canyon
- Lone Mountain
- Silly mountain, Apache Junction
- Spook Hill
Butcher Jones Trail is easy & you just turn around when you get tired.
If you want to stay closer to Flagstaff with kids, Picture Canyon is nice. The trail is well defined, there’s a waterfall and petroglyphs to see.
- Arizona Trail (west from Old Walnut Canyon Rd)
- Aspen Loop (by Snowbowl Ski Area)
- Brookbank (Mt. Elden trails area)
- Elden Lookout Trail
- Fatman’s Loop Trail
- Griffith Spring
- Lava Tube (you need headlamps and warm clothes)
- Lockett Meadow
- Old Caves Crater (lower part of O’Leary by Bonito Flow)
- Picture Canyon
- Priest Draw
- Red Mountain
- Sandys Canyon
- Sunset Crater Volcano
- Sycamore Rim
- Veit Springs
- Walnut Canyon Ruins
Mogollon Rim Country
- Old Hatchery Trail
- Ice Cave Trail (Pinetop)
- Thompson Trail #629 (45 min from Pinetop)
Old Hatchery Trail is very kid friendly. The trail head is in the parking lot for the Arizona Fish and Game Department. I also consider Springs Trail to be kid friendly.
Another nice flat & easy one for kids is Fay Canyon. About a mile in is a cool boulder that most kids like to climb.
- Airport Mesa
- Bell Rock
- Cathedral Rock
- Fay Canyon
- Little Horse
- Sunset Peak
- West Fork Oak Creek
San Pedro Riparian Preserve near Sierra Vista flat and easy for kids with beautiful scenery.
- Garden Canyon
- Huachuca Canyon
- Parker Canyon Lake Loop
- Miller Peak
- San Pedro Riparian Preserve (Sierra Vista)
Your kids will love the water at Seven Falls. No scrambling, just switchbacks. Make sure you stop and enjoy all of the water opportunities. It’s definitely kid friendly as long as they have the endurance forfour miles each way.
- Douglas Springs
- Garwood Dam
- Hugh Norris Trail
- King Canyon
- Seven Falls
There’s some elevation involved at Tonto Ruins, but the trail is all national park complete with some benches which we didn’t need, but they got use.
- Badger Springs Trail (Agua Fria National Monument)
- Tonto Ruins (Lake Roosevelt)
- Watson Lake (Prescott)
What trails are missing? Tell me in the comment box.
This is not intended to be a complete list. Help me grow it.