With temperatures moderating and the colors beginning to burst across mountain country, fall is a perfect time to get the family out for a hike. Depending on the age and stamina of the kids, suitable hikes abound for everything from an easy stroll to rock scrambles, many with mountain views for mom and dad and the hook of possible nature sightings for the kids.
SnoCountry.com took a look at some family-friendly hikes that make mountain time fun for all this fall.
Steamboat's Vista Nature Trail in Colorado offers a self-guided interpretive hike, which is an easy one-mile loop and takes about one hour. Located at the top of the gondola, it's relatively flat, has picnic tables and leads you through groves of aspen trees that spit you out occasionally to take in the extraordinary view of the valley.
Enjoy hikes in both New York's Gore Mountain Base Area and Bear Mountain Summit at the top of the Northwoods Gondola. "Eco-loops" are designed for approximately a 30-min walk, and offer interpretive signage to keep you on track. Check out the ancient patterns over 4,000 years old in the labyrinth near the top of Bear Mountain where the Alpine Sky Loop interpretive trail intersects Fairview.
In Virginia, Massanutten's Rockingham Springs Arboretum is a leisurely walk with quiet places to sit and relax. Stroll along and enjoy a variety of beautiful trees and plant life.
Montana's Whitefish Mountain Resort offers adventurous ways to get into the natural world. Nature lovers, families with kids can learn about the mountain’s forest at the Summit Nature Center. For families who want to continue learning out on the trail, check out an “Adventure Pack” filled with field guides and materials. Take the pack hiking on the East Rim trail (1 mile round trip), or to Flower Point (2.8 miles), or with more time, hike down the 3.8 miles of the Danny On Memorial Trail using the Adventure Pack.
Take the Snowbasin Needles Gondola in Utah for a fun family hike up the Ridge Trail for expansive views on both side of Ogden Mountain. Although it is steep, it is just short enough that your little ones can make it to the top without a problem.