Magical Grotto Hike

Last year I found a really cool hiking book at the Farmington City Hall in Davis County, Utah.  It has details on over 30 trails in Farmington, Utah (where I grew up).  Even after living in Farmington for 18 years I had never hiked this trail before.  So I grabbed a friend and we went on this hidden gem of a hike to “The Grotto”.  Picture mossy rocks, waterfalls, butterflies and magical dripping weeping rocks.  If fairies are real, they live here.

Farmington Grotto Hike (Steed Creek Trail to Hornet Canyon)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate (around 3 miles round trip.  This hike starts out easy along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, then as you hike along the Steed Creek Trail it becomes more steep and often very narrow.)

Since my first hike here, I have been back several times and I never see other people around.  The first time I went the waterfall was flowing strong.  This spring the main waterfall was barely a trickle (we’ve had a dry winter).  If you go in the summer the plants can get huge and the trail will seem more overgrown.

My 4 year old hiked part of the way on her own, and I also carried her. My 8 year old hiked this on his own just fine.  I would not recommend this hike for toddlers or preschoolers unless you plan on carrying them and watching them carefully around the tricky/dangerous areas. This hike is better for older kids who are familiar with hiking and being safe on the trail.

My advice when trying a new trail is go without kids the first time, then you can make a better judgement of how your kids will do. For this trail do your research and find good directions because it can be easy to take the wrong turn if you don’t know where you are going.

In the photo below I’m standing right where there is sometimes a big strong waterfall!

Happy hiking!

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Logan Canyon Adventures

So my mom and several of my siblings live in Cache Valley.  They moved there when I was 18 and had gone off to college so I never lived there.  So for the last 11 years I have made the 1 hour drive to Logan at least once a month.  It has been fun getting acquainted with beautiful Cache Valley.  We’ve been able to explore lots of fun hikes.  Here are our reviews of some of the classics.

Wind Caves

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate Hard (3.5 miles round trip that is uphill all the way to the caves.  Over 1000 ft elevation gain and not shaded, some drop offs and cliffs.)

This hike is probably best done Spring, Fall and on shady cooler days since it is mostly exposed.  The caves are cool at the top but they are at a slant so you need to hold on to your little’s so they don’t tumble down!  I carried my 3 year old the whole way and had major anxiety as she wanted to explore the slanted caves that have zero protection from the huge drop off.  Not to scare you or anything but I wouldn’t recommend super little kids on this one!  Older kids will do better, but we went on a hot sunny day and my son was miserable, he did like the caves when we finally got there.  Great workout if you are carrying a 40 lb toddler ha ha.

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Crimson Trail

Little Mountaineers Rating: Hard (3.8 miles round trip, steep climb to the top and steep final descent back to finish the loop.  The top is walking along cliffs.  Mostly not shaded with exception to some forested areas)

I absolutely love this trail.  It has some stunning views at the top and walking along the cliffs is pretty cool.  It is however a steep climb and can be hard for the kids.  I carried my 3 year old the whole way and it was a killer workout.  Older kids who are experienced hikers should do okay but there are definitely some dangers.

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White Pine Lake

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate Hard (7.5 miles round trip, mostly mild elevation gain, a little bit of a climb at the beginning and one steeper climb when you turn around and make your way back from the lake, mostly rated hard for distance)

This trail is absolutely incredible!  Even if you only do part of it with your family I totally recommend it.  I know the distance can scare most people away, but there are many flat areas and while the lake is a great destination, the whole hike is scenic so even if you do the first mile or two it will be worth it.  My 7 year old did the whole hike no problem besides the typical “when are we going to be there mom??” and my 3 year old was in and out of her carrier.

This hike makes you feel like you are in the middle of the wilderness, far from civilization.  It was stunning when we went in the summer during peak wildflower season, I bet it would be awesome in the fall before the snow comes.  The lake is incredible too!  I seriously can’t rave enough ha ha.  This is a popular trail for backpacking, there are several little campsites near the lake.

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Tony Grove Lake Nature Trail

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (1.2 miles round trip, 100 ft of elevation gain)

This is a beautiful nature trail around the Tony Grove Lake.  Lake loop trails are the best!  This trail also has great wildflowers in the summer.  We did the trail and then hung up our hammocks and had a relaxing afternoon.  You can also bring kayaks, paddle boards, etc and play in the water!  There is a campground right by the lake as well.

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Hobbit Caves

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy (less than .5 mile, flat, mostly exploring not so much a hike)

This is a funny little area for kids to explore.  It is near the stream and a little waterfall so just be careful with the little ones.

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Trails of Davis County Part 1

Davis County Utah has so many trails that we haven’t even visited them all yet!  One of the most well known trails is Adams Canyon Waterfall, but there are so many more.  Hopefully you’ll find some on this list you haven’t tried just yet.  Here are 12 of our favorites in the Davis County, UT area.  Stay tuned for Part 2 for even more trails, I didn’t want to put them all on one post, there are just too many!!

Farmington Canyon Trail/ Farmington Creek Trail/ Sunset Trail/ Farmington Waterfall Hike

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate (3.2 mile round trip, the trails climbs up and descends down multiple times, some drop offs and steep areas)

This trail seems to go by a few different names.  It is famous for it’s 2 waterfalls and several old deteriorating cars along the trail.  With great veiws of the canyon and valley, creek crossings, colorful leaves in the fall, waterfalls, old cars, and interesting rock formations, you will find surprises around each corner.

This is going to be a moderate/hard hike for toddlers on their own feet.  Young children 6+ should do good on their own, especially if they like to hike.  I usually carry my 3 year old part of the way and let her walk when she wants to.

At just over 3 miles round trip you will get in a good workout without it being too difficult.  Plan on elevation changes throughout, it will climb and descend several times.  Packing my toddler I do this hike in about 2 hours, with a couple short breaks.  Plan more time and you get to go slower and explore more.

At the end of the hike you will be able to see the “big waterfall” below you.  There is a very steep area to descend to get up close to the waterfall with a rope to help you down.  I would not recommend this with young children.  After we gaze down at the awesome waterfall we turn around and head back the way we came.  I believe you can continue on and go up a steep trail that will connect you with Sunset Campground but I’ve never done it.


Deuel Creek South Trailhead

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate (2 mile round trip to rope swing, some steep areas and drop offs, some rock scaling, creek crossings )

When you look up information on Deuel Creek you will notice it has two trail heads and can be hiked as a loop trail.  The North Trail head is steep with loose dirt and rocks and with little shade so not young child/toddler friendly.  Luckily the South Trail head is not the same and it can be hiked out and back for a short, scenic, shady hike to a rope swing.  The South Trail head follows along side the creek with several fun creek crossings on log bridges.  It is very shady and a perfect place to cool down from a warm sunny day.  From the start of the South Trail head to the rope swing is just over 1 mile.  Hike back the way you came for a round trip hike of around 2 miles.  It took us a couple times to find the rope swing.  When you get to the creek crossing that only has 2 longs do not cross the creek.  Stay on the south side of the creek and continue straight for a short while and you will reach the swing.  There are some steep areas, areas with drop offs (don’t let your littles wander off ahead of you!) and some areas where you will scale some rocks.  Take it slow and watch you step and you’ll really enjoy this trail.  This is probably one of our top favorites.


Parrish Creek Trail to Pictographs

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (1.1 mile round trip to pictographs, some rocky areas and rock scaling to final pictograph area may require extra help)

This short trail to the pictographs is mostly easy, however requires a bit of scrambling/climbing on a rocky area to reach the pictographs at the end.  If you are bringing children with you I recommend you have at least 2 adults for improved ease navigating the final rocky area.  From what I have researched these are from the Fremont Indians.  Please respect this rock art so others can enjoy.  We turn around at the pictographs area and head back the way we came.


Antelope Island Buffalo Point Trail

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (.8 mile round trip with uphill climb to top, rocks to climb and explore on top)

Antelope Island is one of my favorite places to hike in the area.  The landscape is very unique and different than your typical mountain hike.  Buffalo Point is a short hike that takes you up to a point with a lovely view and a great place to watch the sunset.  There are many rocks to further climb and explore at the top.  This is uphill to the point but nothing too steep or challenging, my 3 year old now hikes it on her own.

*Antelope Island has a “biting gnat” season that usually goes from April-June (call ahead for status), these are pesky little buggers so go early Spring or Fall for the most enjoyable time!


Antelope Island Ladyfinger Point Trail

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy (.5 mile round trip, rocky areas and drop offs)

This trail is a great place to watch the sunset and let your kids climb rocks and explore.  This is my favorite place to take the kiddos when they just want to play and not do much hiking.  This trail is super short and you already have a great view along with many rocks to explore.

*Antelope Island has a “biting gnat” season that usually goes from April-June (call ahead for status), these are pesky little buggers so go early Spring or Fall for the most enjoyable time!


Antelope Island Lakeside Trail

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate (5.6 miles round trip, mostly mild elevation gain, some rocky areas, rated moderate for distance)

This trail is the longest trail on the list, but don’t let that scare you.  This trail is mostly mild and has stunning views of the Great Salt Lake.  There are many areas with fun rocks to explore and this one will be great for the kiddos.  This hike doesn’t have anything waiting for you at the end, the whole trail is scenic, so if you only do part of the trail you will still be able to experience the unique beauty of this trail. You can start this trail from either end, there is parking and trail head signs at both ends.

*Antelope Island has a “biting gnat” season that usually goes from April-June (call ahead for status), these are pesky little buggers so go early Spring or Fall for the most enjoyable time!


Fernwood Trail Segment of Bonneville Shoreline Trail

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (1.8 miles one way to Adams Canyon Trailhead, some elevation climb)

This trail is literally just a few minutes from our house so it’s a quick easy trip for those days we need some mountain therapy but don’t have much time.   We usually just walk along the trail for as long as we feel like it, usually 1-2 miles round trip,  not usually the whole segment.  There are a couple stream crossings depending on how far you go.   This is another trail with little shade but great sunset views.


Davis Creek

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate Hard (around 3 miles round trip depending on your route, steep areas, drop offs, rocky and steep decent, trail not always clear so map and good knowledge of trail recommended)

This is a unique trail in the Davis County area and has some very steep, exposed areas.  There are also other trails in the area that connect and cross with this trail so you want to research your route thoroughly before you go.  You’ll find multiple waterfalls, “Indian bathtubs”, pine forests (“Christmas Tree Lane” and the “El Capitan” rock, etc.

When I researched this trail I noticed that many people stop at the area with the Indian Bathtubs and 1st waterfall.  The trail up to this point is pretty easy to follow and the Indian Bathtubs and waterfall are a great place to turn around if you are looking for something shorter and not as strenuous.  I would recommend stopping here if you have not researched and mapped out the rest of the trail, since there are other trails that cross here you could get turned around if you are not familiar with the surroundings.  If you are up for a challenge and do your research, I like to hike from the Indian bathtubs and do a loop to Pretty Valley then to Hell Hole up to another waterfall and through “Christmas Tree Lane” and a steep decent back to where you started.  Whew definitely a workout with a 35lb toddler on your back and not much shade.


Patsy’s Mine

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate Hard (2.1 miles round trip to caves including some cave exploration, steep climb with rocky areas and drop offs, no shade)

So when we hiked this trail we parked down in a cul-de-sac and hiked up to the dirt road where you will find a trail head.  There is a dirt road that takes you up to that point, but it was in very poor condition when we went and we didn’t want to risk driving on it.

This trail is basically a nice steep climb up, so be prepared for a burner.  There is no shade and the path is steep with drop offs.  It can also be difficult with loose rocks and dirt.  My 6 year old did fine on his own, but I carried my 3 year old the whole way until we reached the caves.

We explored the caves until we got to a part where it branched off into different trails and started to get really wet.  The kids thought it was super cool to explore.  It felt nice to cool off from the hike.  Bring flashlights!  We headed back and finished the hike while enjoying the beautiful sunset.


Farmington Lakes Trail

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy (less than 1 mile/unsure, trail can be wet and muddy)

So we’ve been exploring this little trail with our kiddos for years but I really have no information about it.  I can’t seem to find a trail name or description anywhere.  It does seem that the ponds are called “Farmington Lakes” so I’ve decided to name the trail that.  When you are driving up Farmington Canyon and over to Bountiful peak you’ll pass a camping/picnic area on the Bountiful side and then you should see these ponds on the side of the road shortly after that.  If you pull over and park you will find there is a little trail here.  We’ve never gone too far, it usually gets too wet and muddy, but it is a fun little area to explore and we even bring our hammocks here sometimes to relax.  One of our favorite ways to escape the summer heat is to head up to higher elevation and this is one of our favorite little spots.  Let me know if you have any more information about this trail, I’d love to learn more about it.

Here is a link to the google map coordinates for Farmington Lakes.


Adams Canyon

Little Mountaineers Rating: Moderate Hard (3.6 miles round trip, starts out with switchbacks, steep strenuous climb up canyon, some rocky areas and drop offs)

This is a very popular trail in Davis County, but probably isn’t my first pick for beginner hikers or hiking with toddlers.  I hike this with my daughter on my back when I want a good work out!  The first part of the hike is up about 11 switchbacks (worst part in my opinion ha ha)  As you hike this trail into the canyon you will quickly see why it is so popular, it truly is very beautiful.  Hiking along the creek, through the pines, and passing waterfalls and interesting rock formations you will end and the stunning waterfall.  Avoid weekends and holidays if you don’t like crowds, but since it is popular you will most likely see a good amount of people on the trail.


Wildrose Trail

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (2 mile round trip to sunset view point, some some steep areas and drop offs, moderate climb to top)

This is a good after school or after work sunset hike.  It’s a mile up to the sunset view point and although you are climbing up, it isn’t too steep or difficult.  It is mostly exposed with a little shaded area.  There are beautiful views of the valley and city below and the lake off in the distance.  This trail also connects with other trails (so watch for signs) and can be hiked as a out an back (starting and going back the same route) or as a loop and hiking back down a different way.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of the trails around our home!  I can’t wait to post even more.  Hopefully you’ll be able to try out a new trail or two in the Davis County area!  Happy Hiking!

4 Family Friendly Lake Trails with Scenic Drives

Okay I’m really terrible at keeping up a blog, let’s be honest.  However I’m working on it!  Today I decided to post about some fun family friendly lake trails.  These are the best when starting out hiking with your little ones.  Kids LOVE water features (lakes, streams, waterfalls, etc) so hiking around a lake is always a hit with the kids.  The other added bonus with each of these trails is that they all include a beautiful scenic drive to your destination.  So pick a lazy summer day and pack up your family in your car and head out on an adventure to one of these awesome trails!  Warning:  Weekends are going to be busier in the summer so plan accordingly.  We usually try to avoid Fridays and Saturdays.  Weekdays are the best and we’ve also had decent luck on Sundays (but they can also be busy).

TONY GROVE LAKE NATURE TRAIL (Logan Canyon, UT)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (1.2 mile loop, some rocky areas, mild elevation changes)

1.2 mile loop

Fee: $6 day pass

Take a lovely drive up Logan Canyon and enjoy the scenic drive and you curve back and forth through the mountains.  Then as you take the turn off for Tony Grove you’ll be enjoying the beautiful forest scenery.  This trail is exploding with wildflowers starting around July.  There are picnic areas and lots of trees to hang your hammock.  We went on a Friday afternoon and only met a few people on the trail.  This is definitely one of our favorites!

Trail Details HERE

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MIRROR LAKE LOOP TRAIL (Uintah Mountains, UT)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (1.5 mile loop, mostly flat with some rocky areas)

1.5 mile loop

Fee: $6 day pass

I’ve blogged about this trail before HERE.  However I still have to mention it again because we just love it.  You just can’t beat a Sunday afternoon drive on the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway.  Stop at the Provo River Falls on your way up to Mirror Lake, your kids will love the waterfalls and playing and exploring along the rocks and in the river.  Keep your eyes open on your drive, chances are you might see some wildlife.

Trail Details HERE

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SILVER LAKE LOOP TRAIL (Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy (.9 mile loop, mostly flat, boardwalks)

0.9 mile loop

Fee: none

Big Cottonwood Canyon can get crowded in the summer, but it is absolutely beautiful and there are so many good hikes in the area.  I really love this trail because it is STROLLER FRIENDLY so I don’t have to be nervous taking friends and family along who don’t have as much hiking experience.  It is a great place to take your little little babes.  It is a great little introduction to nature.  Parking can be a little crazy, but it seems that people are constantly coming and going.  We just made a couple loops around the parking lot and then pulled in when someone left.

Trail Details HERE

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CASCADE SPRINGS NATURE TRAIL (American Fork Canyon, UT)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy (.8 mile loop, bottom loop mostly flat and stroller friendly, upper loops include stairs and rocky areas)

0.8 mile loop

Fee: $6 day pass

Okay so this last one isn’t actually a lake, it is a natural spring, but it is a water feature and it is a family friendly nature trail with a scenic drive so I had to include it!  A beautiful drive into the canyon and then along the Cascade Scenic Drive will soon take you to this fun little trail.  It is comprised of 3 loops around the spring.  The bottom loop is STROLLER FRIENDLY but the upper loops have stairs.  Try to spot fish in the lower ponds then make your way up through the different loops.

Trail Details HERE

 

5 Favorite Nature Trails

I mentioned in an earlier post that a good way to get your kids and family ready for hiking is taking them to a nature trail.  So today I am highlighting 5 of my favorites that are in Davis County, UT and close to where I live.  If you live in Davis County check these out, or search for local nature trails in your community, you may be surprised at what is hiding just around the corner.

#1  Nicholls Hollow Trail/Gailey Nature Trail/Bair Creek Nature Trail (1105 Nicholls Rd, Fruit Heights, UT 84037)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy ( wide mostly flat trail, short decent down to trail)

Not 100% sure on the actual name of this trail, it seems to go by several names.  It is located in Fruit Heights right next to Nicholls Park or Castle Park.  West of the actual park there is a large picnic pavilion and you will notice that just to the east of the pavilion you can walk down to the hollow and get access to the trail.  We love this one.  There are trees, a little stream, multiple bridges, and shade.  We always go here just to explore, I’ve never done the entire trail so I don’t really know how far it goes in either direction.

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#2  The Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve (41 S 3200 W, Layton, UT 84041)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy (1.3 mile loop boardwalk, flat with optional climb up tower)

You’ll find this next gem out in West Layton.  Follow this neat boardwalk trail loop through the swampy marshes of the Great Salt Lake.  There are information exhibits and a really cool lookout tower.  Bring your stroller and a picnic and have yourself a wonderful time.  There isn’t shade here besides a little on the tower and pavilion so plan accordingly.

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#3  Lagoon Trail/Farmington Creek Trail (Map)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy (up to 2.3 miles if including 2nd trail, paved mostly flat)

I grew up right by this trail and it has always been a favorite for me.  The paved trail makes it great for bikes and strollers.  The tall trees, stream, and lush foliage make it an absolutely beautiful nature trail.  There are multiple access points for this trail, we usually start at the north entrance off of 200 W  (see map).  A little ways down the start of the trail you will come to a fork.  Turn left and you will follow a trail up to Farmington Pond, keep going and this actually continues into a hiking trail up the mountains.  If you go right at the first fork you will continue on towards Lagoon.  Once you end the first leg of the trail to Lagoon, walk up the road and you can choose to enter the 2nd trail which takes you all the way past some of the animals at Lagoon Amusement Park.

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#4  Kays Creek Parkway (link to map & trail heads)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (up to 5 miles paved trail some areas of elevation change and hills)

Here is another paved trail that is good for biking and strollers.  This one is located in North Layton and has several access points.  Not as much shade here, but it is about 5 miles of paved trail.  There are a few little exhibits that give info about animals and plants in the area.  Nice place for a summer evening stroll.

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#5  Layton Commons Park Walking Trail (437 N Wasatch Dr, Layton,UT)

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy  (about 1.5 miles flat easy trail)

Here is another little walking trail right next to a park.  I love when there are these little trails off of the actual park because you can play at the park and do some nature exploring all in the same day.  This trail follows a little stream with ducks, geese and other birds.  It is about 1.5 miles and there is a really cool bridge if you follow the trail to the north, this will also connect you to the 2nd park in the area.

These are just a few of the little nature trails we have enjoyed that are close to home.  We hope you get to try them out!

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Buffalo Point Trail

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Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate (.8 mile round trip with uphill climb to top, rocks to climb and explore on top)

Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved Antelope Island.  I don’t even have a particularly good reason.  I think it just felt magical to me.  So close to home, yet you feel like you are on some grand adventure.  I’ve loved going back as an adult and taking my kids.  The views are grand, you will most likely spot some wildlife, and there are rocks for climbing, and beaches to explore.

Buffalo Point Trail is a great family friendly hike.  It isn’t very long (.4 miles one way so just under a mile round trip) and the views at the top, along with all the fun rocks to climb and explore, makes it a great place to take your family on an adventure.  We most recently went last July in the evening and it was perfect, this is a great sunset hike in the summer.  This trail doesn’t really have shade so it is best to go in the morning or evening during the summer.  Spring can be a great time to go to Antelope Island as well, but make sure you check their website or call ahead and make sure you aren’t going to be there during biting gnat season, trust me it isn’t fun.  (Biting gnat season is usually April-June) As with any hike it is always important to be prepared.  Bug spray, sunscreen, water and snacks are always important.  When my daughter was younger it was always important we had a carry option as well.  After finally learning to walk at 18 months, she had only a couple of months walking experience by the time we went on this hike.  I carried her up to the point, but she was very anxious to get out and explore and climb, then she went back in my baby carrier on the way down.  Little children with limited walking experience can tire quickly so this is a good thing to remember if you are taking them with you, make sure you have a comfortable option to carry them if needed.

Here are some pictures and highlights.  I can’t wait to share some other great trails Antelope Island has to offer.

Here is the link to the Antelope Island State Park website with maps of trails and other info.

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Mirror Lake

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Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy Moderate ( about 1.5 mile loop, mostly flat with a couple rocky areas)

If you or your kids don’t have much hiking experience it can be tough to know where to begin.  Before doing any major outdoor excursion I recommend doing some research and finding some local nature trails in  your city.  I’ll post some of my favorites in a later post.  Once you’ve gotten some experience with your city nature trails and know your how your kids handle walking longer distances you can branch out a bit.  Today I’m talking about one of my all time favorite beginner trails in Utah.  This trail is perfect for families, young kids, and people with little hiking experience.  This is one of the first places we take our kids when they are little, and we keep coming back every year.

Mirror Lake is located in the Uinta National Forest and is accessed by the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway.  This beautiful drive has many stops along the way and many camping/hiking opportunities.  The drive alone is a wonderful way to spend a lazy summer day.

The trail starts at Mirror lake and is one big loop around the lake.    The trail gives you a real taste of the great outdoors without any extreme hiking.  Some years we just walk part of the trail and play in the lake and other years we hike the whole loop.  This is a great hike for summer or early fall.  Now for the best part, photos!  I’m showing you some photos from Autumn and Summer, it’s beautiful both seasons.

AUTUMN AT MIRROR LAKE

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Most of the trail is dirt, but the beginning is this fun wooden trail.

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SUMMER AT MIRROR LAKE

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