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Best hiking trails for kids

The pandemic has made me think outside the box for ways of keeping my toddler entertained.


Before COVID, we'd spend our time at the neighborhood park, my son running up the jungle gym, slipping down slides with other kids. Now, it has just been the family in isolation, but we have found a way to make it work: Hiking trails.


Trails can be quite the adventure for a kid. Often times, my son collects wild flowers and peculiar rocks. Here are my top picks (so far) for hiking with a kiddo:



1) Soledad Canyon

Las Cruces, New Mexico

A few miles from Las Cruces is the beautiful Soledad Canyon.


The towering Organ Mountains look amazing from this trail, it makes me feel like I am in a different continent. The 3.4 mile trail is fairly easy. My son, Nathan, has completed the entire route by himself, at times even running the entire trek. He seems to love to run on the narrow trail. It seems when trails are wide he gets a bit distracted, so this one is ideal.


Nathan often picks wild flowers when the season is just right as the bushes lining the trail bloom with petite yellow flowers.


We actually saw a tarantula on this trail too, which was interesting. Don't worry, it scurried away, but Nathan just laughed at his mother (me) screaming in panic.


This trail is also rewarding. At the far end of the trail, you may get to see a waterfall, if the timing is right.




2) Aztec Cave Trail

Franklin Mountains El Paso, Texas


The destination is just as exciting as the trail itself. This is a fun 1.2 mile hike that can be done in an hour or

so.

A quick drive from El Paso's westside, this makes for a great afternoon adventure.


A wooden bridge takes you on a journey up the Franklins on a well maintained trail. Makeshift steps have been provided so the mountain can be climbed up with ease.


At the end of this trail is a fun, large cave where kids can explore. The views are tremendous.


A fair warning though, a few yards before the cave there are loose rocks, so just take your time on that part. Other than that, the trail is not too bad. We saw a lot of families with young children on this trail.


A quick note - a day pass is required to hike this trail, and visitors must check in with park rangers before advancing to the parking lot.






3) Pena Blanca Trail

Las Cruces, New Mexico


So many caves to explore! This is definitely an adventure. We followed a dirt road to get to this particular trail, which my son loved.


To get to the caves, there will be a wider trail, but the trek is well worth to get to the breathtaking rock formations ahead.


We pretty much just climbed all over the formation. There are smaller caves to weave through, just the right size for a 3-year-old.










Additional hiking tips:

I bought my son some hiking boots, and boy have they come in handy. I picked up some for $40 on Amazon and they have worked great.


Using an app, like the "All Trails App" is super important, just in case you get off the trail and for safety reasons.


Hope you all enjoy the trails as much as we do!


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