Home to over 10,000 acres of parkland, Raleigh is just waiting for you and your kids to lace up your shoes and hit the trails. Here are 8 kid-friendly places to start your hiking adventures as the weather continues to warm up in the Triangle.
1. Prairie Ridge Ecostation – A part of the Museum of Natural Sciences, Praire Ridge Ecostation offers trails, wildlife, an outdoor classroom, and several active research projects on the grounds that can be investigated at any given time. Kids in Parks offers several adventures for kids to complete on the Track Trail through the Ecostation.
2. Eno River State Park – Eno River State Park offers over 28 miles of hiking trails ranging from 0.5 to 3.75 miles. Eno trace trail is an excellent place to start with little ones in tow, 0.5-mile self-guided nature trail, Kids in Parks offers four different adventures to take your kids on as you complete this trail. If you’re looking for a bit longer of a hike, Cole Mill is a relatively easy 1.2-mile loop that takes you along the river.
3. Neuse River Trail – The Neuse River Trail is a part of the Mountains-to-Sea-Trail and offers 27.5 miles of paved trail connecting various areas of Raleigh. The trails offer scenic views of the Neuse River and boardwalks over vast stretches of unique wetlands. This is a great trail to bring out the bikes as well.
4. North Carolina Art Museum – The NCMA is a beautiful place to spend a few hours with your little ones. With plenty of paved areas, the park also offers plenty of fields to let kids run loose and unique artwork throughout the grounds to explore and discuss as you let their imaginations run wild. The whispering benches are always a favorite among young visitors and the 1 mile Blue Loop Trail is a beautiful place to start.
5. William B. Umstead State Park – Umstead offers over 20 miles of hiking trails. Oak Rock Trail offers an easy 0.6-mile loop that crosses over a small stream. It is also the Kids in Parks Track Trail, with several fun adventures for your child to complete as you hike this trail. If your family is looking for a little longer of a hike, Potts Branch Trail offers a 1.3-mile easy hike passing three streams and with easy access to picnic areas.
6. Jordan Lake – Jordan Lake State Recreation Area boasts an undeveloped 14,000-acre reservoir with beautiful shorelines and nine access areas and 14 miles of hiking trails. If exploring with kids, Seaforth Pond Trail is a great place to start. An easy 1.25-mile loop offering beautiful views of the lake and boardwalks through wetlands. This is the Kids in Parks Track Trail offering four different adventures kids can complete as they hike the trail.
7. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve – Located in Cary, Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve offers a nature center and a variety of educational classes for inquisitive young minds. All of the trails begin from the Nature Center. Swift Creek Loop Trail is a fun and pretty 0.8-mile trail, but note that it does include steps. Beech Tree Cove Trail is a 0.9-mile stroller accessible hike to an overlook.
8. Falls Lake – Falls Lake boasts a 12,000-acre lake and 26,000 acres of woodlands with access to swimming areas for summertime fun at Sandling Beach and Beaverdam. When hiking with little ones Duck Cove Trail is a great place to start. A 0.6-mile hike one way (1.2 miles round-trip) that leads to a wildlife observation platform overlooking Duck Cove. It is also the Beaverdam Kids in Parks TRACK Trail and offers four different adventures for kids as they complete the hike.