Nearly each day I escape to the trail with my 4 month old baby (Huck) and my dog (Oliver).
Hiking has been the perfect outlet to 1) exercise 2) take the dog for a walk 3) bond with my son 4) sometimes bond with my husband or a friend if we are lucky enough to have company on the trail 5) to take care of my mental and emotional needs.
Although setting out for a hike with children can feel daunting, finding the right trail and bringing the right supplies will keep everybody entertained for hours, and leaves everybody feeling happy, uplifted, and ready for a nap!
Lately our favorite trail has been the Salt Lake Overlook trail, up Millcreek Canyon. Just outside of the city, I'm always amazed how quickly I'm swallowed up by the green trees, stunning mountain views, and the solitude of the trail.
Beginning at the Desolation trailhead, just past Millcreek Inn, the trail begins under a canopy of shady trees. Staying right at the first fork (towards Desolation Canyon, not Thaynes canyon), the trail begins to climb up the mountain with some moderate switchbacks. This part of the trail can be quite sunny, and does not have any water sources. On hot days, we usually try to begin our hike before 10, or wait to hike until 4. At the second fork along the trail, continue right (towards Desolation). There are two short, somewhat "rocky" sections of the trail, where little ones might want a hand to hold.
As you reach the west facing summit, I highly recommend enjoying a snack or a sandwich! We love to hike this trail in the evening, and watch the sunset over the valley while we eat a picnic dinner (and I nurse the baby). The trail is moderate enough to hike down in the dark with headlamps. As you take in the 360 views, teach your children the names of the neighboring peaks and canyons.
The views are INCREDIBLE!
Trailhead : Up Millcreek Canyon, just past Millcreek Inn
Length : 4.8 miles round trip
Time: Plan for 2 hours with children
Elevation gain : 1239 feet
Dogs allowed : yes!
Water sources : no
Skill level : Beginner
Packing list :
1 liter of water per person
Granola bars or sandwich
Hat and sunglasses