As we head into the long days of summer, our thoughts begin to take us to warm places, where we can laugh and relax. Taking time to relish in these days without the pressure of school schedules and routines opens up opportunities to spend quality time as a family. One of the greatest gifts of living in Northern Utah is the abundance of hiking trails and outdoor adventures geared towards youth. Whether it be enjoying the trails in our own backyard or venturing away from home, there are plentiful choices within an hour of North Ogden. So, pick a trail, pack a picnic, and plan for new experiences.
Our family’s top picks for hikes in our vicinity:
Flag Rock in Farmington
This hike is rated easy to moderate and only 1.3 miles (2.6 roundtrip) to the flag waving high on the mountain top. Along the way to the flag, stops can be made at Patsey’s mine or at Steed Creek to dip toes in refreshing water. The history of the flag and its journey flying proudly since the 1970s is inspiring and makes for a powerful story to share as a family. This hike is ideal before the intense sun of the summer takes hold and the wildflowers are abundant.
Spiral Jetty in the northern part of the Great Salt Lake
This adventure has been one of my family’s favorites. Seeing the immense spiral in the backdrop of the Great Salt Lake is inspiring and beautiful. My kids commented that it felt like we were on another planet from touching the crystallized salt to the spongy beaches. Make this a day trip by including a visit to the Golden Spike National Historical Site, which is on the way to the jetty.
Wind Caves in Logan Utah
Hiking this trail provided ample opportunities to discuss perseverance and tenacity. It is moderate in difficulty with several steep sections. However, don’t let the steep sections keep you from this magical hike. It is 3.5 miles roundtrip with spectacular views along the way, culminating with two arch formations molded from wind and erosion at the top that the kids can play and explore.
It is best to hike this trail early in the morning, before the hot sun crests through the canyon. A stop at Aggies Ice Cream after the hike is a sure win for everyone!
After many outings and lots of learning along the way, the following tips help set the stage for a successful experience on the trail:
- Stop to smell the flowers…or look at the bugs, rocks, sticks of interest along the way. Hiking and exploring ignites creativity and prompt children to ask deep questions about nature and life.
- Bring snacks, water and other necessities to increase the enjoyment of the hike. Be sure to pack plenty of water, especially on summer days, sun screen, a first aid kit, bug repellent, proper clothing/shoes and our family favorite – Summit Snacks! My kids love the surprise of the summit snack. Often it is a delicious fruit or, on hikes with higher mileage, it could be a candy bar, like a Snickers which we have renamed the Summit Bar.
- Play games on the trail. Games such as I-Spy or searching for animal tracks can help pass the time on more difficult sections of trail and create moments of spontaneous laughter. Design a scavenger hunt or participate in Geocaching. Here’s a sample link for geocaching.
- Choose your hike wisely. From loop hikes to hikes with an end destination or those with a WOW factor, it is important to think about the time you have available, age of the children and highlights along the way.
Even though school is out for the summer, you can foster learning experiences that are fun, exciting and get us outside enjoying where we live. Remember, as adults, we are a role model for learning and for demonstrating an adventurous spirit. Have fun out there!