Great Places for Kids and Dogs, Too
Hiking is a great family activity, and nearby in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys, you can find trails of every level. Read the trail head signs as they offer history, trail information, folklore and education. You can pose questions for your kids based on the signs, or with a little planning, you can create a scavenger hunt along the trail to make the trip educational.
Safety and comfort are extremely important. Obey the trail rules, know the route, carry plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks and most importantly, get well-fitted hiking shoes.
When hiking, I want my feet and ankles snug and upright. I found the perfect trail shoes in Chaco’s new OutCross Evo 3. This versatile, trail-oriented, hiking shoe takes you through creeks, mud and dirt. It has barefoot construction so you can wear it with or without socks, and Chaco’s “LUVSEAT PU” footbed provides the full support needed for day hikes.
Here are some great places to go!
1. Hanging Lake – Glenwood Canyon
My kids’ favorite! This crystal-clear turquoise lake is suspended in Glenwood Canyon, an oasis surrounded by waterfalls. The trail follows Dead Horse Creek crossing seven foot bridges. This 1.9-mile hike is rated difficult due to the steep and rocky terrain, but it’s worth the effort! Elevation gain: 1,000 feet. Time: 2 to 3 hours.
2. Grizzly Creek – Glenwood Canyon
Grizzly Creek is a great alternative to Hanging Lake since it allows dogs and parking is more available. A more moderate hike, seven miles out and back, it parallels the creek. Good for hot days as it’s mostly shaded. Elevation gain: 1,900 feet. Time: 1 to 3 hours.
3. Red Hill/Mushroom Rock – Carbondale
This is a locals’ favorite, great for a lunchtime hike. It’s dog friendly and there are different ways to hike this loop trail system. All choices take you to a hilltop that provides incredible views of the valley and Mt. Sopris. Elevation gain: 900 feet. Time: 1 to 2 hours.
4. Doc Holliday’s – Glenwood Springs
Doc Holliday’s trail takes you up to the historic Linwood Cemetery, established in 1886. An easy, 1.2-mile hike that winds up a hillside with great views of Glenwood Springs. If the hike isn’t enough, continue past the cemetery and follow a single-track trail to thA celebration that includes poetry, spoken word, singing and musical performances will take place at the new public sculpture installations around Carbondale during the second Annual LIT (Literature in Town) Crawl on October 1. The LIT Crawl is sponsored by the Carbondale Public Library and begins at 4 p.m.e top of a meadow, where you’ll pass some ruins and what I call the enchanted forest. Elevation gain: 220 feet. Time: 30 minutes.
5. Jeanne Golay/Red Mountain – Glenwood Springs
This 3.5-mile dirt trail is named after local Jeanne Golay who won three gold medals at the national Roadrace Cycling Championships and rode in the Barcelona Olympics. Yes, my kids asked, “Are we there yet?” The interconnected side trails let us explore and still know where we were going. Before they knew it, we were at the top. Elevation gain: 1,600 feet. Time: 3 hours with kids.
Here are five other local hikes I would highly recommend:
6. Lorax – Carbondale
7. Boy Scout – Glenwood Springs
8. Storm King – Glenwood Springs
9. Thompson Creek – Carbondale
10. Smuggler – Aspen
Some hikes take minimal preparation and others take days of planning, so check them out on SingleTracks.com before you go.
I’m planning my next family adventure hike as the golden aspens approach. I think I’ll be taking the kids on their first 14’er. I can’t wait to get them up on top of the world!