Easy Kid-Friendly Hikes in Glacier National Park
Planning a family trip to Glacier National Park?
Do you want to explore the wonders of this wilderness with your family on easy hikes in Glacier National Park? In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey through the best kid-friendly hikes in Glacier National Park. From easy strolls through lush meadows to exciting and more strenuous hikes. In short, here are our favorites:
- Hidden Lake Overlook
- Avalanche Lake/ Trail of the Cedars
- Virginia Falls
Read on to learn more about each trip, discover our tips and tricks, and find other family-friendly activities in Glacier National Park.
Local’s Guide to Hiking with Kids in Glacier National Park
1. Hidden Lake Overlook
This hike will start from the backside of the Logan Pass Visitor Center. The nice boardwalk will take you along some beautiful landscapes up along the boardwalk. There is never any guarantee of seeing wildlife but on this trail, there is a good chance to see marmots, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and possibly mountain goats. Please remember that they are still wild animals and to give them space.
There are a few good places to take photos along the way and the boardwalk is nice and wide if you need to pull over to take in the views. When you reach the overlook, you can turn and head back here if you like or you can extend this adventure and travel down the 1,000 feet of switchback, but remember you have to hike back up!
2. Avalanche Lake/ Trail of the Cedars
This is probably one of the most traveled and well-visited spots in Glacier. Parking can be an issue so I would suggest starting early in the day to get a parking spot. The trailhead for Avalanche Lake is right near the Trail of the Cedars so you can hit two birds with one stone on this stop. Trail of the Cedars is a wonderfully shaded boardwalk through some of the glorious cedar trees in the park. This 0.6 mile partial paved/ boardwalk is great for all ages and easy to take a stroller too if needed. Avalanche Lake is a beautiful out-and-back trail along Avalanche Gorge and you hike into Avalanche Lake. When you reach the basin of the lake you will see several waterfalls at the end of the lake with breathtaking views. This is a great spot to stop and have a nice picnic lunch, enjoy that crisp mountain water by dipping your toes in before you head back down.
Along the trail, you will see Avalanche Gorge which is amazing seeing the water rushing by, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife you never know what you may see out there. This is a great well-traveled trail that is also helpful and easier for a wider range of age groups.
3. Virginia Falls
Virginia Falls is a perfect hike if you are looking to see some waterfalls. This 3.6-mile round-trip hike will bring you to two of Glacier’s beautiful waterfalls. First, you will come up to St. Mary Falls. These falls are most powerful during the Spring months. As you continue on the trail, the 2nd waterfall you will see will be Virginia Falls. If you want to get closer than the bridge viewing point you can take a great spur trail to get you right to the base of the waterfall. Be careful as the falls are powerful and the ground around them can be slick from the water. This hike will give you a total elevation gain of 525 ft. Worth it!
Tips for Hiking with Kids in Glacier National Park
Making sure you have all you need before you hit the trail is important. First, you will want to make sure you have bear spray with you so if you do encounter a bear along your trek you will be ready. You also never know what sort of weather you will encounter while you are exploring. It is smart to pack light layers to layer up and down if needed throughout your day. An extra pair of socks is also not a bad idea in case your feet get wet. You won’t want to run out of water on your hike as well so make sure you pack sufficient water for whatever you have planned on your agenda. Most importantly, the number one rule in the woods- pack it in, pack it out. Make sure you are conscientious of what you are bringing into the woods so that you can also pack it out. Let’s keep our park looking beautiful!
Other Family-Friendly Activities in Glacier National Park
Junior Ranger Programs are a great way to keep your kids busy and engaged while you explore Glacier. You can pick up their ranger booklet at multiple visitor centers or ranger stations inside Glacier. You will have to complete the booklet and turn it back in during your Glacier adventure in order to get their badge. This is a great way to keep kiddos entertained and learn the most about the park while they are here.
Glacier Highline is a great post-hike reward for your kiddos after a day hike or after a long week of hiking. This is a great way to stretch their legs and burn out some of their never ending energy. We have loads of family fun here! Make sure you reserve your harness so we can show ya the ropes outside of Glacier!
The hikes listed are just a few many easy hikes in Glacier National Park for families with kids. Some other notable good hikes are Rocky Point, Grinnell Lake and Running Eagle Falls. Glacier is beyond words on how beautiful it truly is. Make the plans and take the trip- your kids will talk about it for years to come! Make sure you stay safe while you are out exploring. Pack enough snacks, water, and bear spray–a MUST! Make sure you plan accordingly and don’t out-hike your limit or your groups limit. Pack up, get out there, and enjoy those trails!!