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YOUR ZION + SOUTHERN UTAH ADVENTURE

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31 Epic Family Friendly Hikes In Southern Utah

Southern Utah is an outdoor lover’s paradise with adventures for everyone. Whether you’re wanting to slide into a tight slot canyon, find a waterfall amidst a desert oasis, scale sandstone cliffs or explore Dr. Seuss-like rock formations this part of the state has it all.


While there’s no shortage of “epic” when it comes to hikes in Southern Utah, finding the right ones that you can take your kiddos on can be a little more of a challenge.

Here is a list of our favorite adventure driven hikes around Southern Utah that the kiddos will love and we feel pretty confident that parents will too. I’ve explored the trails of Southern Utah with my kids for years, so I’ve got some serious firsthand experience about which hikes in Southern Utah are kid-friendly. Trust me, I’ve put in the mileage here…literally!


The Best Hikes in Southern Utah for Kids

Here is a list of our favorite adventure driven hikes around Southern Utah that the kiddos will love and we feel pretty confident that parents will too. ;-)


ZION NATIONAL PARK

1. Riverside Walk

2. The Narrows

3. Lower Pine Creek Falls

4. Canyon Overlook

5. Emerald Pool

6. Clear Creek


KOLOB CANYONS/TERRACE

7. Lambs Knoll

8. Taylor Creek

9. Timber Creek Overlook

10. Northgate Peaks


KANAB AREA

11. Kanab Sand Caves

12. Squaw Trail

13. Wire Pass

14. Toadstools

15. The Nautilus


SNOW CANYON

16. Jenny’s Canyon

17. Scout Cave

18. Johnson’s Canyon

19. Petrified Dunes


KANARRAVILLE

20. Kanarra Falls

21. Spring Creek Canyon


ORDERVILLE

22. Belly of the Dragon

23. Red Hollow


RED CLIFFS RESERVE

24. Red Reef Trail

25. Babylon Arch


OTHER AREAS IN SOUTHERN UTAH

26. Yant Flat (Dixie National Forest)

27. Water Canyon (Canaan Mountain/Hildale)

28. Cascade Falls (Duck Creek)

29. Hidden Haven (Brian Head)

30. Ramparts Trail (Cedar Breaks)

31. Ashdown Gorge (Cedar Canyon)


1. RIVERSIDE WALK - Main Canyon, Zion National Park

TRAIL STATS

Beginner

2.5 miles round trip

Minimal elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

This is a perfect hike as an intro to hiking in Zion with kids. To get there, take the shuttle all the way through the park (35 mins) and get a wonderful scenic view of the canyon. When you start hiking, you can choose the paved trail or the sand trail that runs parallel to it and is usually less crowded. The kiddos will love that they can play in the river and explore and climb around the trail. The end of this hike is the start of The Narrows.




2. THE NARROWS - Main Canyon, Zion National Park

TRAIL STATS

Advanced

9 miles total, but you can turn around whenever you want

300 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

If you are visiting Zion National Park in the summer with kids who love to hike and who love water then The Narrows is a hike that should be at the very top of your list. Such a great way to beat the intense summer heat, The Narrows is an amazing slot canyon hike that will take your breath away around every turn. The full hike is 9 miles round trip but you can just hike until everyone is ready to turn around.


Note: The Narrows hike is closed when the river is flowing too fast. Always check conditions on the Zion NPS site, and don’t hike The Narrows during or after heavy rain because of the possibility of flash floods.


CLICK HERE FOR OUR TOP 10 TIPS FOR HIKING THE NARROWS WITH KIDS


3. LOWER PINE CREEK FALLS - Main Canyon, Zion National Park

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate

0.7 miles round trip

Minimal elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Lower Pine Creek Falls is a great trail to get away from the crowds in Zion and also an excellent way to cool off in the heat of the summer. It’s less than a mile round trip hike to get to the picturesque pond and 15-foot waterfall, but it is a true adventure with some stream hopping, boulder climbing and sketchy ledges. Warning, once you get to the waterfall you might never want to leave! If you go in the summer bring swimsuits for the kids.




4. CANYON OVERLOOK - East Side, Zion National Park

TRAIL STATS

Beginner/Intermediate

0.9 miles round trip

157 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

This family-friendly trail on the east side of Zion features big horn sheep sightings, caves (kinda) and one of the most breathtaking views in the park. It almost feels like cheating to get views like this with such an easy hike. At about a mile round trip, Canyon Overlook is great for families, and there is only some slight elevation gain. It is important to keep a close eye on the kiddos though, since this trail has lots of steep drop offs especially at the overlook. 



5. EMERALD POOLS - Main Canyon, Zion National Park

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate

Lower Pool: 1 mile round trip/Middle Pool: 1.25 miles round trip/Upper Pool: 2.5 miles round trip

620 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

One of the most popular hikes in the park, this trail is located right across from the Zion Lodge. The hike takes you to three gorgeous pools, and the waterfalls and stream along the way make this hike super fun for kids. You can also take the  Kayenta Trail on your way back to get some different views.


Local tip: Swimming is not allowed in the pools, so there’s no need to bring your swimsuits.


6. CLEAR CREEK - East Side, Zion National Park

TRAIL STATS

Beginner/Intermediate

No set distance, you can hike as little or as much as you want

Elevation gain varies 


TRAIL DETAILS

Clear Creek does not have an actual starting point or end point, so you can choose your own adventure. As you drive along Route 9 on the upper east side of Zion, you will see the dry creek bed down below. Simply pick a spot to pull off and go exploring! I recommend pulling over at the Many Pools trailhead. The kids will totally love all the areas to run and play here.


Local tip: Please respect the landscape and do NOT let your kids draw on the canyon walls!



7. LAMBS KNOLL - Kolob Terrace

TRAIL STATS

Beginner

0.8 miles round trip

Minimal elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Lambs Knoll is an area along Kolob Terrace Road that is popular for rock climbing and canyoneering, but you can keep it easy to explore this super fun area with kids. The hike is short and leads you to a small and tight slot canyon that is a huge hit with the kiddos. There are picnic tables here, so you can make it into a fun half day adventure by bringing lunch or dinner.



8. TAYLOR CREEK - Kolob Canyons

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate

5.5 miles round trip

620 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

The kiddos will love that you are walking along a small stream for the majority of this hike, which is especially nice in the summer. The trail is really lovely, and the cool double arch alcove at the end is a great spot to stop for lunch and snacks before turning back. There are also two historic cabins along the trail that are interesting to look around and peak in.



9. TIMBER CREEK OVERLOOK - Kolob Canyons

TRAIL STATS

Beginner/Intermediate

1 mile round trip

255 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Timber Creek Overlook is a sandy and flat trail with a few short rocky hills. The hike is short and keeps the kids engaged along the way. It’s really the perfect quick hike with kids to experience the beautiful sandstone cliffs of Kolob Canyon…the views on this hike are stunning!


10. NORTHGATE PEAKS -  Kolob Terrace

TRAIL STATS

Beginner/Intermediate

4.5 miles round trip

100 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

This hike goes along a flat ponderosa forest and through wildflower meadows for 2 miles. Although this can get a little boring for the kiddos, the trail eventually rewards you with beautiful and unique views of Zion peaks and backcountry canyons. This is the area of Zion that most people don't see, and it's really worth it to get off the beaten path.


Local tip: August is an especially gorgeous time to hike this trail on Kolob Terrace, since that’s when the many wildflowers will be in full bloom along the trail. 



11. MOQUI CAVERNS/KANAB SAND CAVES - Kanab, UT

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate

0.25 miles round trip

Elevation gain is just the scrambling up the wall to the caves


TRAIL DETAILS

The Kanab Sand Caves are located 10 minutes outside of Kanab, and it is such a fun hike with kids to scramble up to these cool caves. These man-made caves were used to harvest sand for glass production in the 1970s. Crazy, right? The quarter mile round trip hike to the caves is easy and family friendly.


You will have to scale up a sand stone wall for a very short distance, which can be a bit slippery and difficult for both kids and adults, so make sure you have good traction on your shoes. Shoes with good traction are a must! There are steep drop off ledges at the caves so keep a close eye on your kiddos.



12. SQUAW TRAIL - Kanab, UT

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate

3 miles round trip

600 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

This short but steep trail is located right in the town of Kanab and is perfect for a morning or evening hike with the kiddos. You might have to encourage them on the steep uphill section, but it’s totally worth it to experience gorgeous views of Kanab from above.


CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MANY MORE REASONS TO VISIT KANAB


13. WIRE PASS - Outside Kanab

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate

3.7 miles round trip

180 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Wire Pass Trail is an awesome escape to a slot canyon about an hour east of Kanab off a bumpy dirt road. It’s a great hike that feels like an adventure yet is totally doable for families. Everyone will enjoy exploring in the deep narrows and taking in the quiet solitude and beauty of the wavy red rock walls. You can also make the hike a little bit longer and explore the beautiful Buckskin Gulch slot canyon, too.


Note: Permits ($6/person) are required for day use in this area. You should purchase your Wire Pass permits on recreation.gov before you arrive because cell service is spotty here.



14. TOADSTOOLS - Outside Kanab

TRAIL STATS

Beginner

1.8 miles round trip

141 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS 

This is truly one of the most fun hikes in Southern Utah for kids! The easy trail will take you to an area filled with rock formations and hoodoos that seriously look just like toadstools. Running from toadstool to toadstool and playing hide and go seek kept my kiddos entertained for hours. In fact, my kiddos loved this hike so much that we came back to the Toadstools again just a few weeks after our first visit.



15. THE NAUTILUS - Outside Kanab


TRAIL STATS

Beginner

0.9 miles

Minimal elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Another total hit with the kiddos is The Nautilus, just outside Kanab near Page, AZ. This short hike brings you to a unique swirly white rock formation. The formation is named "The Nautilus" because when you hike down into the formation, it spirals around, giving you the feeling you are exploring a large mollusk seashell.


You can even sit on your bum and slide down, which my kiddos thought was the coolest thing ever! Adults will love The Nautilus, too, because it’s absolutely stunning. I adored the light inside the mollusk-like formation, with ripples of yellow stripes running through the white rock.



16. JENNY’S CANYON - Snow Canyon State Park

TRAIL STATS

Beginner

0.5 miles round trip

Minimal elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Jenny’s Canyon is a short, sandy walk to a quaint yet magnificent slot canyon. It’s honestly lovely to run your fingertips along the soft red walls of the canyon, and it offers a cool refuge from the hot desert summers. This trail is less than a half mile round trip walk and is lightly trafficked throughout the day,, so it’s a good place to get away from the crowds on some of the more well-known hikes in Southern Utah.


CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE ABOUT VISITING SNOW CANYON STATE PARK


17. SCOUT CAVE - Snow Canyon State Park

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate

3.5 miles round trip

500 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

This mostly flat trail takes you through a lava flow and along a really pretty creek bed with lots of trees and desert vegetation. Near the end of the hike, you will climb a set of stairs and then a rocky path leads you up and into the cave.The views of the St George Valley from up here are beautiful and totally worth the short climb (although it might not be the best for young children). It’s not a super big cave but seriously, who doesn’t love a good cave?



18. JOHNSON’S CANYON - Snow Canyon State Park

TRAIL STATS

Beginner

1.7 miles round trip

154 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Johnson’s Canyon starts from the same trailhead as Scout Cave, and it’s a really nice hike to combine the two. The trail starts through the same lava flow and creek bed as Scout Cave, and then you continue straight instead of branching off. You’ll hike through the canyon and then get an awesome view of the 200 foot Johnson’s Arch.


Note: Johnson’s Canyon Trail is closed seasonally from March 15-September 14 for turtle conservation.


19. PETRIFIED DUNES - Snow Canyon State Park

TRAIL STATS

Beginner/Intermediate

1.2 miles round trip

216 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

This short trail is very family-friendly and packed with incredible views. The petrified sand dunes are essentially massive hills of Navajo sandstone that surround you. You can wander wherever you want, and kiddos especially love the freedom to run around here. Although there are some uneven surfaces and steep hills,  the dunes are pretty easy to navigate, so this hike is a fantastic family outing in Southern Utah.


20. KANARRA FALLS - Kanarraville, UT

TRAIL STATS

Advanced

4.4 miles round trip

692 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

A stunning slot canyon where you climb a ladder in the midst of a magical waterfall. Yes, please! This trail is 4.4 miles round trip and about as photogenic as they come with vibrant green trees and stunning slot canyons that will leave you speechless. There is a decent amount of rock scrambling and the beginning of the trail is a bit boring but keep going, it's worth it! If you can make it to the first slot canyon (about 1.5 miles in) with the kiddos I call that a win!


Note: A permit ($15/person) is required to hike to Kanarra Falls. You can purchase permits at the trailhead kiosk, but permits are limited to 200 each day, so it’s better to buy online here if you want to guarantee that you get them.


CLICK HERE FOR FULL HIKING DETAILS TO KANARRA FALLS


21. SPRING CREEK CANYON - Kanarraville, UT

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate/Advanced

5.3 miles round trip

761 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Spring Creek is an excellent alternative to Kanarra Falls if you want to avoid the crowds (and permits). The first mile of the trail is a bit boring, but once you reach the towering sandstone cliffs, it will take your breath away!! You’ll head deep into the canyon for an amazing Southern Utah red rock experience. The slot canyon never narrows too much, so it’s totally doable with kids, although the little ones might have more of a challenge.



22. Belly Of The Dragon - Orderville, UT

TRAIL STATS

Beginner

0.5 miles round trip

Minimal elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

A  short hike through a manmade tunnel is the highlight of this unique, family-friendly trail located just 20 miles east of Zion National Park. The cave-like tunnel/Belly of the Dragon was originally created as a water culvert under HWY89 but over time drainage from upper canyon water flow has carved the sandstone walls and created a beautiful rippling tunnel prime for exploring. This is such a great adventure with kids so bring the whole family and have some fun.



23. RED HOLLOW - Orderville, UT

TRAIL STATS

Beginner

1 mile round trip

157 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Red Hollow Canyon is such a good easy slot canyon for beginners and kids. From the trailhead, you’ll head through a sandy wash while you’re surrounded by a mix of white and red sandstone which is just gorgeous. Soon the canyon will narrow into the slot canyon, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the breathtaking red walls.

 

24. RED REEF TRAIL - Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

TRAIL STATS

Beginner

3 miles round trip

219 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

This trail is a fan favorite. It is a short 3-mile round trip hike with very little elevation gain, lots of cool spots for playing and exploring along the trail and the rock climbing rope area near the end makes the hike feel truly adventurous. If you choose to climb the rocks to the upper section with a small child on your back we recommend using a soft carrier. This will keep your center of gravity more even. There is a seasonal waterfall that runs in the spring but this hike is great any time of year. 


CLICK HERE FOR FULL HIKING DETAILS TO RED REEF TRAIL


25. BABYLON ARCH - Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

TRAIL STATS

Beginner/Intermediate

2.9 miles round trip

331 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

Epic views, an epic sandhill, and an epic arch make this trail such a fun adventure with kids. At 2.9 miles round trip, The only issue is the trail isn't as well marked as it could be, and the arch can be a little hard to find. Take a gps with you to make sure you stay on the trail if this is your first time. 


 

26. YANT FLATS - Dixie National Forest

TRAIL STATS

Intermediate

3.4 miles round trip

337 feet elevation gain


TRAIL DETAILS

The other wordly Yant Flats begins with a short 1.5-mile hike through the woods before reaching open terrain of swirling smooth rock formations that spill out for miles. The landscape can be steep at times, and there are cliffs to be aware of, but the sticky rock will allow kids to adventure across much of the area with a little hand holding from mom & dad. Beware that the road getting out to Yant Flat is an 8-mile bumpy dirt road. It is a pretty intense drive if you are not used to dirt roads. 


 CLICK HERE FOR FULL HIKING DETAILS TO YANT FLAT

 

27. WATER CANYON - Cannan Mountain Wilderness