This story was produced in partnership with Thule.
Having a kid in a stroller can feel limiting for nature-loving parents who are used to scrambling over boulders, hiking the steepest trails, and devoting entire weekends to excursions in the great outdoors. But just because you’re bringing a kid in a stroller along doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the epic sights and sounds of nature. That’s because some of the best destinations for nature lovers in the United States have trails that are easily accessible to parents pushing kids in strollers.
These are a dozen of the best, most epic stroller adventures nature-loving parents can try. There’s no better way to rediscover the wonders of nature as a parent, and get your kids excited to go on more challenging, stroller-free hikes with you once they can keep up.
Glacier View Loop Trail at Kenai Fjords National Park
Named because it was here the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield ended, the Exit Glacier is a four-mile marvel of nature. The Glacier View Loop Trail is a solid choice for families with strollers. It’s a mile-long loop that takes you right to Glacier View, where you’ll find panoramic views of the massive glacier spilling out of Harding Icefield.
Perkins Central Garden Trail at The Garden of the Gods
Of the five trails at this National Natural Landmark, the Perkins Central Garden Trail is the best for stroller-pushing parents. It’s an easy, 1.5-mile roundtrip path with less than 30 feet of elevation gain. It offers sweeping views of the rock formations that make the 480 acres of parkland owned by the city of Colorado Springs a natural treasure.
Don’t let the name fool you: this all-terrain stroller can handle the city, the outdoors, and everything in between thanks to its ample 16-inch rear wheels, suspension that makes for a smooth ride over the bumpiest trails, secure and comfortable five-point safety harness, and roomy cargo basket to bring along the necessary supplies on all of your excursions.
Landscape Arch Trail at Arches National Park
Landscape Arch is one of the longest stone spans in the world, a breathtaking 306-foot span that’s just 11 feet thick at the center. The trail to get there isn’t nearly as impressive—it’s fairly flat, gravel-surfaced, and about a mile each way—but those factors make it great for parents bringing a little one to see one of America’s most impressive sights.
Bobcat Boardwalk Trail at Everglades National Park
This half-mile trail through the Shark Valley section of the Everglades is ideal for pram-pushing parents. It’s a wooden boardwalk, so there’s no need to worry about uneven terrain or trails getting blocked or washed out. And the views—of the famous “River of Grass” and the tropical hardwood trees that form a natural canopy over segments of the trail—are not to be missed.
Bear Mountain Dock Trail at Bear Mountain State Park
Located just north of New York City in the Hudson Valley, Bear Mountain State Park is easy to access by car, train, and ferry. Once you arrive, you can start this one-mile roundtrip hike at the entrance to the in-park zoo (that also deserves a visit). It ends at a dock with fantastic views of the Hudson River and chances to picnic and fish on its banks.
Keys View at Joshua Tree National Park
A short, accessible trail (it’s just a fifth of a mile) will take you and the family up to this crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains. From there, you can see the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea, the Santa Rosa Mountains, and even the San Andreas Fault, which lies nearly a mile below. Mountains, water, and the source of countless earthquakes over the past 30 million years—what more could you ask for on a family trip?
Every adventurous parent needs a great, compact stroller that is easy to take on the go. The Thule Spring is that stroller. It folds with one hand and stands on its own, making it easy to transition from car to plane to trail and back. And speaking of the trail, you’ll appreciate the ability to let the front wheel spin—for maximum maneuverability—or lock it forward—for maximum control.
Jesup Path at Acadia National Park
This mile-and-a-half trail through this 105-year-old park is a figure-8 path through white birch and hemlock forests to the Great Meadow, with views of Dorr Mountain along the way. It’s mostly level and a mixture of wooden boardwalk and gravel that any stroller worth its salt can handle with ease.
Bright Angel Point Trail at Grand Canyon National Park
You don’t need convincing to visit the Grand Canyon—it’s the most famous natural landmark in the country, after all—but you might be understandably nervous about taking your baby to what’s basically a gaping hole in the desert. Not to be confused with the Bright Angel Trail, this half-mile round-trip hike is paved, it leads to a spectacular view of the canyon (and the accompanying photo-ops), and, most importantly, is a lot less treacherous than many other routes in and around the canyon.
Sprague Lake Loop at Rocky Mountain National Park
This half-mile loop—with just ten feet of elevation gain—will take you and your family to the stunning Sprague Lake. There are multiple lookout points there, which makes it a great place to spot wildlife and take in epic Rocky Mountain views that are so beautiful they don’t even look real.
Calling the Thule Chariot Cross 2 a stroller isn’t incorrect, but it is incomplete. That’s because it’s actually a “multisport trailer” that parents can also bring mountain biking (as a trailer that attaches to their bike) and cross-country skiing (as a sled that you can hook to your waist). It’s a great choice for those whose outdoor activity repertoire goes beyond hiking.
The Big Trees Trail at Sequoia National Park
Big trees are the best trees. The only drawback of the sequoias is that you can’t climb them, but your stroller-riding kid isn’t old enough to climb trees anyways. On the other hand, they are old enough to be pushed along on this three-quarter mile walk around the Round Meadow with plenty of views of, you guessed it, some really, really big trees.
The Point at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Just an hour from Washington, DC, The Point is where the Potomac and Shenendoah Rivers meet. It affords views of three states and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Getting there is simply a matter of getting up a gravel path on a slight incline, a short trip that rewards you with beautiful views (and great photographic opportunities).
Lower Yosemite Fall Trail at Yosemite National Park
Niagara Falls might get all the press, but the tallest waterfall in North America is in its third-oldest national park. This mile-long paved trail has just 50 feet of elevation gain, so it’s easy to navigate with a stroller, and offers views of both the upper and lower falls. But beware: the footbridge at the end falls squarely in the splash zone, so don’t approach if you’re not ready to get wet.