Whether you’re new to hiking with your baby or toddler, or you’re looking for a new trail to explore, the Hike it Baby community is a valuable resource for finding family hiking trails around the country. In this article, we share three unique hikes in Wyoming to explore with babies and young children.
Hiking with young children (under 5 years old) is different from hiking with school-age children. These three hikes in Wyoming offer families of young children beautiful and unique trails to explore while considering the special ways young children hike, wander, dawdle and explore.
Taggart Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Like many paths in this park, this 3-mile trail is well groomed with small rocks and pebbles, but mostly dirt. There’s enough room for people to walk single file in both directions. Taggart Lake starts with a little bit of a hill toward the beginning, but then it’s mostly flat the rest of the way. As you head out, you’ll cross a bridge toward the beginning of the hike and walk alongside a creek. No need to stop and play because you can splash in Taggart Lake at the end of the hike. It is glacier water, though, so it’s always cold. Toddlers will love spotting tiny fish in the lake as well as climbing on the rocks and fallen trees around the lake. Like much of Grand Teton National Park, you’ll often see moose and elk foraging in the woods and bald eagles and hawks flying overhead. This park is a magical animal wonderland that looks like it’s straight out of a Disney set. The best part is it’s all real.
A brief climb in the beginning but then the trail levels out. A beautiful view the whole time. A quick hike into a lake which is a perfect spot for kids to climb, splash and explore. Take a quick snack break before hiking back out. I love the lake and the view at the end. —Maribeth Davidson
- It’s also a trail that is usually busy and has common bear sightings, so bear spray is advised. Or for those who aren’t used to bears, moose or big mountains, it’s advised to hike with a ranger.
- The lot fills up quickly, so get to the park about 30-45 minutes before the ranger hike starts to secure a parking space. Hiking with a ranger will guarantee you have bear spray.
Photo courtesy of Maribeth Davidson.
Observation Point, Yellowstone National Park
Around four million people flock to Yellowstone National Park every year with hopes of watching Old Faithful erupt and shoot water 140 feet into the air. But once you’ve joined the masses in watching this spectacular act of nature (a few times the better!), head over to the trail head to Observation Point Trail and head up to Observation Peak. Here, you’ll find a wide view of the Upper Geyser Basin and you can watch Old Faithful erupt from a different vantage point. It’s a half-mile hike that passes through meadows and traverses a few switchbacks before climbing up 160 feet in elevation to the top. Most visitors are satisfied watching the eruption from the ground level before heading to the gift shops or visiting Old Faithful Lodge, so this trail doesn’t get too busy. With few visitors, Observation Peak is a quiet place, so you can appreciate all the simultaneous eruptions going on below. This includes Old Faithful as well as the other lesser-known, but just as magnificent geysers nearby. Because Old Faithful consistently erupts every 60-110 minutes, if you head up right after an eruption, there’s just enough time to make it up before the next eruption occurs.
Our family really enjoyed this hike. We spent a week in Yellowstone and Grand Teton and while both parks were beautiful and the trip was unforgettable, Observation Peak and one other place were the two times during our trip that we got to take it slow and really indulge in our surroundings and our experience. The views from the top are amazing and you can see steam as far as the eye can see. Old Faithful is just as magnificent up close as it is from above. —Vong Hamilton
- Due to the switchbacks, be careful not to throw rocks at anytime — especially at the top — as it could injure someone below.
- If you have the time, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the solitude at Observation Peak. Or pack dinner and stay for the sunset display.
- Continue west to Solitary Geyser, which sits by itself in the woods and erupts every 4-8 minutes. The hike is easy and makes the total route 2.2 miles.
- You can find prediction times for Old Faithful on placards on the grounds. Check the times before heading up so you know how long you have until the next eruption.
Photo by Vong Hamilton.
Joyner Ridge Trail, Devils Tower National Monument
Devils Tower National Park is a remarkable place that your family can enjoy as a day trip or a week-long camping adventure! Keep in mind that there is a significant elevation change that requires climbing natural steps. In this area, there are steep places that would be dangerous if people ventured too close to the edge, so it’s good to note if your little one is walking. Joyner Ridge Trail provides ample opportunities for stops for resting. The final stretch is a wide-open meadow, which is great for a picnic with the tower looming in the distance. The park is open year-round, but hikers can’t access the trail head when heavy snows cover the road that leads to it. Consider a visit in the fall when temperatures are cooler and there are more colors to see. And don’t forget to visit Prairie Dog Town where prairie dogs roam. There are pull-outs and a parking area near the campground if you want to get out and say hello.
We enjoy all of the trails at Devils Tower but this one is a favorite because it is less traveled, takes you through changing terrain, and is an amazing spot to watch the Tower change color as the sun sets in the evening. —Christel Peters
- Bring plenty of water as there is no potable water available at the trail head. There is a water fountain available to fill water storage containers near the pavilion at the base of the tower.
- There are also no bathroom facilities, so be sure to go before heading to the trail head.
- The terrain changes from meadow to forest, to rock, and back again throughout the hike. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear with good tread. Sun protection is important as well as trekking poles for balance during elevation changes.
- Visit the Tower at sunset when the lights cover the Tower with amazing colors.
Photo courtesy of Christel Peters.
What are your favorite hikes in Wyoming for families with babies, toddlers and young children? Leave a comment below!
More Resources for Families with Young Children
- Hike it Baby calendar (or connect with the local branch)
- Wyoming State Parks
- Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers by Hike it Baby Founder Shanti Hodges
- 3 Beautiful Hikes in Washington State for Young Children
- 3 Memorable Hikes in Colorado for Families With Young Children
- First Time Hiking With Kids? Helpful Tips to Get Out on Trail
If you’re traveling through Wyoming and need more information or recommendations on trails or would like to join a group hike, the nearest Hike it Baby branch is in Spearfish, WA.
(Trail reviews also contributed by Maribeth Davidson and Christel Peters.)