Sunday, July 12, 2020

Hiking with (Very Small) Kids: Lisa Falls Trail

Covid-19 is clogging up our national parks with stir-crazy, outdoors enthusiasts, but that’s not a problem when you live 20 minutes from the mountains. No, the greatest challenge to hiking in the mountains with children is… the children.  I find that people use the term “family-friendly” loosely on hiking websites and apps; perhaps their families consists of robust, fit teenagers. Mine has a baby, a preschooler, and a six-year-old along with my husband and myself, and though I want to instill in them a sense of wonder for nature and a sense of reward for accomplishing hard things, most hikes are too difficult for our set. Well do I remember the many hikes of my childhood, and I hated them all. They were simply too arduous for a kid.

So, are there excursions in the Salt Lake area we can realistically do with my short-legged companions and a baby strapped to my back? The answer appears to be yes, and this is our summer to discover them.

Our first hiking attempt? Lisa Falls Trails. Here are the deets: it’s a 0.3 mile out and back hike with 121 feet of elevation gain. It’s located in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and Google Maps did a pretty good job telling us when to pull over and park. There’s no dedicated, paved lot, perse, but there was plenty of gravely parking off the road. We were initially unsure where to find the trail head, but we followed more knowledgeable hikers to the correct spot.

Water is, apparently, a great incentive for my children, and luckily there are many hikes in the Salt Lake area that culminate in a waterfall. This one is a rocky climb which, come to find out, is exactly what my boys enjoy. Scrambling over rocks is much more enjoyable for them than walking on pavement. We appreciated the late morning shade that lasted up until the falls themselves. Our attempt was in late May, and though the trail itself didn’t seem overcrowded, there were groups of people gathered at the top. Social distancing was more difficult at the actual falls. Thus we didn't stay too long; a few quick pics, and we were back in the trees, enjoying the scramble back down.

Kids are parents alike found this a short and sweet winner.

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