Summer is time for the family road trip! Follow Kids Activities Blog and Julie Blair and her family as they travel 8 states in 30 days for the ultimate road trip storyâ€¦
With only two days to hike with kids in the Rocky Mountains around Denver, Colorado we knew we’d have to pick our adventures carefully.
Hiking With Kids
For one, we’d need something Charlotte could conquer at age four, which meant less than one mile.
Secondly, our nature-loving manny Joel wanted to see a sampling of all the ecosystems of the amazing mountain range–meadows, forests, lakes and peaks.
So, our first adventure was to Lookout Mountain, some 40 minutes West of our Denver cottage.
Park across from the nature center and scramble over the boulders for a spectacular view down to the city.
Then, trudge across the street to the terrific nature center which offers two nice looped trails–one through a meadow and a second through the forest.
Both were do-able for Babycakes, who found butterflies, giant milkweed pods and ladybugs. Meanwhile, the twins climbed trees.
The nature center itself is not to be missed: It offers a terrific backgrounder on wildlife that includes everything from puma pelts to an enormous nest stuffed with puppets to blocks cut from mountain trees.
Our second hike took us to St. Mary’s Glacier, a real-life Arendale for little “Frozen” fans located near Idaho Falls, an hour or so West of Denver.
The trail was suggested to me by a twin mom I met at the Denver Target parenting three-year-old boys, but it was tough for Charlotte as the uphill climb included loose rocks and sandy soil.
Our manny saved the day, however, by offering his shoulders once again.
We packed a picnic and scurried up to 10,000 feet. We were rewarded every step of the way with sparkling mountain rivers and, finally, a spectacular panoramic view of the glacier still sporting snow in mid-June.
Joel and Will went for a dip in the 50-degree glacial lake below–and Charlotte fell off a large log into it.
Take towels if you think you’ll do the same–the winds were whipping and it got downright chilly when the sun was skirted by clouds.
(Alas, there was no giant salesmen offering “end of winter specials” at the top of the glacier as in the movie “Frozen.” We instead pooled our sweatshirts for poor frigid Charlotte.)
The kind Texan-turned-Coloradoan we asked for directions reminded us to hydrate at all mountain elevations. Failure to do so can result in elevation sickness, he said. And there’s nothing like nausea and dizziness to wreck a perfectly lovely day.
Joel reminds you moms reading this should post not be skeptical of the later hike due to difficulty. (But I had a buff 24-year-old dude lugging my preschooler, so either find yourself a manny like mine or get a rockin’ backpack for your tot.)