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This post was contributed by Melissa from Adventure Tykes. 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 a
lso love keeping this giant bottle filled with ice water in our car so we have cold water when we get back from our hikes.
Where to stay in Moab
If you’re taking a family trip to Moab, make sure to take advantage of some of the really unique places to stay there. I’ve got my eye on this Airbnb that has a climbing wall over the bed and the coolest bunks I’ve ever seen. Or if you want to spend more time outside, check out this place with hammocks, a pond, firepits AND a pool!
You’ll also quickly notice the pools at the Springhill Suites with it’s crazy rock formations as you drive into town, which just about any kid would love. As a parent, I love that the rooms can sleep 6 and breakfast is included, so it simplifies my visit!
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.
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.
Hidden Valley Trail Hike, Moab
Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate (steep switchbacks)
Hidden Valley trail in Moab is a hiking trail that provides a wonderful view of the Moab Valley. It is 4 miles round trip (if you go to the pass) but you can make the length however long you want. 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. 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. 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.
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 tykes. 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 a great hike for a picnic dinner, as we have done before.
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!
Morning Glory (aka: Negro Bill Canyon)
Just recently this trail has been renamed from Negro Bill Canyon to Morning Glory. I will always call it Negro Bill. This is a fantastic hike 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.
Do be aware of the poison ivy along particular sections of the trail and by Morning Glory Bridge.
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.
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. 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 hiking here 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 National 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 National 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.
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 National Park. The arch is incredibly huge and you can hike right underneath it, which is always fun with the 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. 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.
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 National Parks are to each other, yet how different they can be from each other. As their names suggest, Arches National Parks 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. The trail is only 1/2 mile long and is pretty easy. 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 here 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.