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This post was originally contributed by Melissa from Adventure Tykes and has been updated throughout the years with our families personal experiences in Moab. She and her family live in Moab and really know how to get out and enjoy the beautiful desert they live in. She and her family are serious outdoor lovers and she’s one of the top experts on exploring Moab with kids.
Living in the small town of Moab, UT provides us with many, many opportunities to get outside. We have a playground practically anywhere we go. We are known as a mountain bike mecca and a climbing destination but there is plenty of hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, white water rafting and trail running to be had. Living here is definitely a lifestyle and we take full advantage of it.
Top hikes to do with kids in Moab Utah
With so many outdoor activities to do in Moab, make sure that your kids are well prepared for a long day of adventuring in the heat. Moab with kids can be amazing if you’re prepared well! We’ve rounded up the best kids hiking shoes for you, and also the best backpacks for everyone in the family. We also just got some of these hats for our entire family and it makes keeping everyone cool and protected from the sun so much easier.
Also, don’t forget to take LOTS of water with you since the temperatures can get really hot in the deserts of Moab. I’ve found that my kids drink best if we give them hydration packs full of water – This hydration pack has lasted us almost 7 years and 3 kids, and this is another great option for kids. Personally, I stick with my classic water bottle that’s never failed me in 20+ years. We also love keeping this giant bottle filled with ice water in our car so we have cold water when we get back from our hikes.
With so many kid friendly hikes in Utah, Moab is a great place to do lots of the best Utah kid friendly hikes in one place.
- Top hikes to do with kids in Moab Utah
- Where to stay in Moab
- Family Hiking Safety In Moab
- What to pack for a trip to Moab?
- Family Friendly Hikes in Moab
- Best Hikes with Kids in Arches National Park
- Best Easy Hikes In Canyonlands National Park
- More things to do in Moab with Kids and Moab family activities
- Best Time of Day To Hike With Kids on Moab Trails?
- Risks of Heat Exhaustion to Recognize in Kids
- Risks and Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Kids
Where to stay in Moab
If you’re taking a family trip to Moab, let us help you find where to stay in Moab with family so you can make sure to take advantage of some of the really cool places to stay there.
- This hotel is hands down our families favorite since the pool area is absolutely INCREDIBLE!
- Here is a great option if you want a room that sleeps a lot (the rooms sleep up to 8), but are on a budget – it still has a pool with a slide and a hot tub.
- I love the look of this modern vacation rental that has plenty of space for everyone to spread out too!
Family Hiking Safety In Moab
The most dangerous thing about hiking in Moab is the heat. It’s extreme with outside summer temperatures regulary over 100 degrees. Read to the bottom for suggestions on when to hike as well as information about heat stroke and heat exhaustion while hiking with kids.
What to pack for a trip to Moab?
Packing for a trip to Moab is different for every single season since the weather fluctuates so much. Check out our article on What to Pack For Moab and make sure to grab our printable packing list as well.
Family Friendly Hikes in Moab
Below you’ll find some hikes in Moab for families. If you keep reading, you’ll find the best hikes in Arches National Park for kids and also the best hikes in Canyonlands National Park for kids in addition to other Moab hikes. This list will help you find the best Moab hiking trips so you can plan an amazing Moab family vacation. Make sure to check out these other fun things to do in Moab while you’re there in addition to Moab hiking trails. The more you explore, you’ll learn that there is no shortage of Moab kid friendly hikes.
Scott M. Matheson Wetland Preserve Moab
Distance 0.6 mile loop
The Scott Matheson Preserve is located on the west side of town and it is a great location to allow your tykes to run loose. Great educational material is posted at the entrance of the preserve. There are a handful of trails and boardwalks that lead you to different viewing areas of the preserve and J-Man has a blast exploring the maze of trails. There is a trail that leads you to the Colorado River and another that leads you to a wildlife blind. In the evenings and mornings deer can be spotted grazing or resting in the area. Other animals such as beavers, raccoons, bunnies and many different species of birds can be spotted at the preserve. This is a great stop when you are hiking Moab.
Hidden Valley Trail Hike, Moab
Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate (steep switchbacks)
Hidden Valley trail Moab is a hiking trail that provides a wonderful view of the Moab Valley and is one of the best hikes near Moab. It is 4 miles round trip (if you go to the pass) but you can make the length however long you want when you are hiking in Moab. There is a climb to the top with switchbacks and once on top it flattens out into a valley nestled between cliffs of red rock on your Moab hiking trip. It is beautiful up in the valley and at the pass you can find petroglyphs on some of the rocks. Along the trail you will come across tiny lizards scurrying in front of you from one side of the trail to the other. Sometimes if you are lucky, you will see bigger lizards sunning themselves on a rock. Depending on the season you might be able to see cactus blooming on the HIdden Valley hike Moab. This trail is steep in the beginning with numerous big rocks and boulders on the trail. J-Man has hiked it on his own and has also been carried to the top. It’s one of the best hikes Moab has to offer.
Tip: If you are hiking Hidden Valley Trail in the summer, go in the late afternoon, when the nearby cliffs shade most of the trail.
Corona Arch Hike, Moab
Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
This hike is great for tyke, and I always recommend this when people are looking for things to do in Moab with toddlers. There is little ladder climb, steps carved into slick rock to help you up a section of the trail and a BIG arch to greet you at the end of 1.5 miles. Be sure to keep a look out for Bowtie Arch, which is on your left right before you reach Corona Arch. Corona Arch has been popular for rappelling and most recently for rope swinging (see video below). This trail travels along fairly flat slick rock but very little shade. Not a hike you would want to do in the middle of the day during the heat of the summer. This is one of the best Moab hikes for a picnic dinner.
Corona Arch has recently become very popular for rope swinging videos on YouTube. Make sure to check out this amazing video before you hike Corona Arch, one of the best trails in Moab!
Morning Glory (aka: Negro Bill Canyon)
Distance: 2 Miles
Just recently this trail has been renamed from Negro Bill Canyon to Morning Glory. I will always call it Negro Bill and it’s one of the best places to go hiking in Moab Utah. This is a fantastic Moab Utah hiking trail to do with tykes and it can be done anytime of day. J-Man and I have hiked this trail quite a bit this summer.
The 2 mile trail follows a creek with various creek crossings and ‘pull outs’ to wade in the creek. There is plenty of shade throughout the hike and only a couple sections of elevation gain…just 2 short climbs. There’s little fish, crawfish, toads and snakes that live around the creek. I’m sure any tyke would enjoy spotting any of the critters. At the end of the hike is the Morning Glory Bridge with a perennial spring seeping out of the slick rock. Morning Glory Bridge, which has a span of 243 feet, is the sixth longest natural rock span in the United States.
Best Hikes with Kids in Arches National Park
Hiking in Arches National Park is every kids dream come true. There are unlimited rocks to play on, and getting dirty and dusty is free game here. You won’t have any problems finding family friendly hikes in Arches or good hikes for kids in Arches. Some of the best hiking trails in Moab are in the National Park. Below are our top recommendations for easy hikes, Arches National Park style!
Devils Garden Hike, Arches National Park
Distance: 2 – 8 miles depending on how far you hike
Difficulty: Easy – Difficult
Devils Garden is one of the most popular trails in Arches National Park, and one of our kids picks for the best things to do in Moab with family (we did it all the time!). You can make the length of the hike as long as you desire. There is a short hill to hike up, a sandstone fin to scurry up and a couple smaller hills but nothing too daunting.
Devils Garden area contains the largest concentration of natural arches in the world and is a great place for the whole family. Two of the most popular arches are Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. Along the trail you will see soil that is called Crypto Biotic Crust. Cryptobiotic soil crusts, consisting of soil cyanobacteria, lichens and mosses, play an important ecological role in the arid Southwest. It increase the stability of otherwise easily eroded soils. There are many places to stop, take a break or have lunch and allow your tyke to explore.
Landscape Arch Hike, Devils Garden, Arches National Park
Distance: 1.9 miles
The trail to Landscape Arch is just under 2 miles roundtrip, and is a pretty easy, flat hike. Landscape Arch is the longest arch in North America, with an opening of 306 feet! The trail goes through several fins before arriving at Landscape Arch. If you continue past Landscape Arch to Double O arch, the trail gets more difficult.
Balanced Rock Hike, Arches National Park
Distance: 0.3 miles
Balanced Rock is so easy that it can hardly be considered a hike at just over 0.25 miles roundtrip. However, kids will love this hike around Moab since the views of the giant boulder balancing on a pinnacle are sure to have jaws dropping for the entire family. Instead of considering this a hike, it might be better to just call Balanced Rock in Arches, a great place to stretch your legs. The trail is paved and this is one of the most iconic sites in all of Arches Park.
Delicate Arch Hike, Arches National Park
Distance: 3.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate with some exposed sections
You might need to hike to Delicate Arch, just so your kids can say that they know where the arch on the Utah License Plate is located. In all honesty though, Delicate hike is a great hike to take kids on, though it can get pretty crowded, so you’ll want to start early, or plan on going later in the day (I suggest about 2-3 hours before sunset). Delicate Archis probably the most crowded hike in all of Arches Park.
The first part of the trail is sandy and open, and as you get closer to the arch, you’ll be walking on rock. For about the last 1/3 mile before you get to the arch, the trail is narrow and has a good drop-off on the side, so make sure to keep a hand on your little ones. Once you get to Delicate Arch, there is a large area to stop and enjoy a picnic while enjoying beautiful views of the arch. While it is more crowded, don’t miss hiking Delicate Arch with kids.
Double Arch Hike, Arches National Park
Distance: 0.5 miles roundtrip
Double Arch is a quick, but rewarding hike in the windows area of Arches Park and is one of Arches most kid friendly hikes. The arch is incredibly huge and you can hike right underneath it, which is always fun when you’re doing hikes in Moab with kids.
Sand Dune Arch Hike, Arches National Park
Distance: 0.5 miles roundtrip
Sand Dune Arch is less of a hike and more of a giant sandbox, but we still consider it one of the best family hikes in Moab. It’s a really quick walk to get into the canyon where Sand Dune Arch is, and once you get there, you’ll be treated to some of the softest and most fine sand EVER! We came planning on spending 30 minutes and had to pull the kids away after 2 hours of playing in the sand and jumping off rocks. In the future, we’ll plan on bringing shovels and buckets here as well. If you’re going to Moab with toddlers, they could probably stay here and play all day.
Best Easy Hikes In Canyonlands National Park
If it’s your first time to the Moab area, you’ll be amazed at how close Canyonlands and Arches Park are to each other, yet how different they can be from each other. As their names suggest, Arches Park main features are ARCHES and the highlight of Canyonlands National Park is all the amazing CANYONS. You’ll find plenty of places in Canyonlands for hiking with kids.
Here are some of the best hikes to do with kids in Canyonlands National Park.
Mesa Arch Hike, Canyonlands
Distance: 0.5 miles
Alright, I knew that I said that Canyonlands was all about CANYONS, but this is a great arch hike to do with kids that just about anyone can do. This Canyonlands trail is only 1/2 mile long and is pretty easy which is why we consider it one of the top hiking trails in Moab Utah with kids. Once you get up to the arch, there are some steep exposed sections, so use caution (especially with kids) when you’re right below the arch.
Grandview Point Hike, Canyonlands
Distance: 2 miles
If you’re looking to find stunning views of the canyons below then hike with your kids to Grandview Point. The views from this Moab trail are simply amazing as you get a birds eye view of the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. The trail is flat and easy, though as it goes along the rock it can sometimes be hard to follow. Look for cairns (small piles of rocks) along the trail to mark the path you should take.
More things to do in Moab with Kids and Moab family activities
If you’re looking for more things to do in Moab with kids, besides all the Moab Utah hiking trails, check out our Top 14 Adventures with Kids Around Moab. It’s full of tons of great family activities in Moab Utah.
Best Time of Day To Hike With Kids on Moab Trails?
During the summer months (June-August), temperatures on Moab trails can get very hot, often exceeding 100°F (38°C). In these months, it’s best to hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon when temperatures are cooler. Hiking during midday can be dangerous due to the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. We recommend being off the trail by 9:30am, and not going back out until after 5pm.
During the spring and fall months (March-May and September-November), temperatures are more moderate, but it can still get warm during the day. In these months, hiking in the morning or afternoon can still be pleasant, but midday hikes are also more manageable. If the temperatures get above 90 degrees it’s too hot to be outside hiking with kids in Moab (which happens often in late spring or early fall).
During the winter months (December-February), temperatures in Moab can be cold, especially in the morning and evening. Hiking during the middle of the day when temperatures are warmer is probably your best option.
Risks of Heat Exhaustion to Recognize in Kids
Heat exhaustion is one of the biggest risks and also the most common hiking related injury in Moab. Before you hit the trail, know the signs and symptoms so you can keep your kids safe.
If heat exhaustion is ignored it can progress to heat stroke, which can be life-threatening. Some common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion in kids include:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Excessive sweating
- Pale, cool, or clammy skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
If you suspect that your child is experiencing heat exhaustion, it’s important to take immediate action to cool them down and prevent the condition from progressing to heat stroke. Move your child to a cooler, shaded area and offer them and electrolyte drink to rehydrate. Keep a close eye on them and if their condition gets worse, seek medical attention. Just FYI, the emergency room in Moab is staffed with great doctors. We’ve taken kids there a couple of times for injuries and always had a great experience.
Risks and Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Kids
Heat stroke is incredibly dangerous and can quickly become life threatening. If you suspect your child is experiencing heat stroke while hiking in Moab, you need to take immediate action.
Heat stroke is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can occur when a child’s body overheats due to exposure to high temperatures or prolonged physical activity like in the desert. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stroke in kids so that prompt medical attention can be sought. Some common signs and symptoms of heat stroke in kids include:
- High body temperature (above 103°F or 39.4°C)
- Hot, dry, and red skin
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Confusion, agitation, or irritability
- Loss of consciousness
If you suspect that your child is experiencing heat stroke, it is important to cool them down and seek emergency medical attention. Move your child to a cooler, shaded area and remove any unnecessary clothing to cool them down. Use cool, wet cloths or a fan to help lower their body temperature. Offer them water or an electrolyte drink to rehydrate them. As soon as you take care of their immediate needs, get emergency medical help!
Hiking with kids in Moab can be amazing, but just make sure that you are careful with the heat!