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. Here are three family-friendly hiking trails in Arizona that you should plan on taking your family out to next weekend.
When hiking with kids in Arizona, it’s important to be aware of the weather forecast as the northern regions of Arizona can experience severe heat during the summer months and flash flooding is a major risk during the monsoon. Check the weather and take note of all safety signs at the trailhead to keep your family safe.
Javelina Canyon and Ridgeline Loop Trail (Phoenix, AZ)
Are you up for a bit of a challenge? The Javelina Canyon and Ridgeline Loop Trail is a 560-foot elevation loop neighboring Phoenix’s West Hills neighborhood. It comes in with a length of around 3 miles round trip. Be sure to check the area’s map before heading out. As most people will let you know, it’s easy to miss signposts that might lead you out onto the (slightly easier) Beverly Canyon Trail.
Take note that this loop can be a bit steep. That said, with your kids in tow, you should be able to wrap it up in two to three hours. We suggest facing the loop counterclockwise, as some say it’s a bit less challenging this way. Whichever way you go, you’ll be treated to the amazing views of Phoenix’s beautiful metropolitan skyline, the brightly colored wildflowers which run alongside the trail, and the Arizona desert’s wide open skies.
- Watch for mountain bikers, trail runners, horseback riders and dogs. Also, the latter must be on a leash at all times.
- Some areas are closed to preserve the region’s soil and natural wildlife.
- Pack a carrier since the terrain isn’t wheel-friendly.
Estrella Mountain Ranch Park Trail (Phoenix, AZ)
If you’re out on the west side of Phoenix, the Estrella Mountain Ranch Park Trail is definitely one to explore. This trail (actually a group of trails) is an easy, but long, loop near Goodyear. It’s around 5 miles long and has a 538-foot elevation gain. While it is an easy trail to hike and there’s nearby parking, you should be aware that there isn’t much shade along the trail to protect you from the overhead sun, especially if you’re hiking in the middle of the day. Luckily, you’ll be able to take along a stroller since the terrain on the trail isn’t too rough.
The Estrella Mountain Ranch Park Trail can safely be considered an easy and comfortable trail that is kid- and dog-friendly. Just make sure you follow hiking safety precautions and bring a leash for your dog. In total, you should expect to spend around two hours hiking this trail. Estrella also happens to be reasonably close to the Estrella Mountain Regional Park, which boasts wetlands, more trails and picnic sites, making it the perfect location to go following a good morning hike.
- Make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat for both you and the kiddos.
- Watch out for trail runners and mountain bikers, who often frequent the trail on weekends.
- Don’t forget to bring a leash for your dog.
Grand Canyon South Rim Trail (Grand Canyon Village, AZ)
The benefit of going to a place like the Grand Canyon is that there are nature trail rangers who can help explain the history of the area, including the geology and human settlement. Another benefit is that the trail is part of a national park, meaning it’s been able to accrue more funding over the years to make its pathway wheelchair-accessible and provide numerous water stations for you and any leashed canine companions you’ve brought along.
There are dozens of hiking trails at and around the south rim of the Grand Canyon, but the most family-friendly is the South Rim Trail. This trail is around 6 miles from point to point, with markers along the route to help you keep track of your progress. There’s also a bus that runs along the South Rim Trail to help ferry tired hikers back to their hotels, campgrounds, cars, shuttles and the Grand Canyon’s information and gift shops.
The Grand Canyon offers visitors many different activities and attractions. Make a weekend trip out of the hike and spend time exploring all that this natural wonder has to offer. The south rim is free to access, but there are also other inexpensive activities to do in and around the area.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen!
- Bring plenty of water in case of an emergency.
- Make sure you bring a leash for your dog.
MORE RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
Arizona offers an abundance of trails for families with young children. For more family hike ideas, see:
- Hike it Baby calendar (or connect with local branches)
- Hike it Baby Family Trail Guide
- Arizona State Parks & Trails
- Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers – New Book by Hike it Baby Founder Shanti Hodges
If you’re traveling through Arizona and need more information or recommendations on trails or would like to join a group hike, the nearest Hike it Baby branches are in Phoenix and Tucson.
- 3 Unique Hikes in California for Kids of all Ages
- 3 Amazing Hikes in Utah for Families With Young Children
- 3 Stunning Trails in Hawaii for Families With Young Children
What are your favorite hikes in Arizona for families with babies, toddlers and young children? Leave a comment below!
Trail reviews contributed by Abigail Golder.