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My Favorite Fall Colorado Trails for Children

Child Crossing a creek

Fall might be my favorite season in Colorado, and it’s a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors on the trails with our children.

It’s still warm enough for this native Texan, but the breeze takes on a cool and refreshing undertone. Flowers erupt in their second bloom of the season, and the Colorado landscape is tinged with the gold. 

Here are some favorite hikes that even the littlest of legs can enjoy. 

Lair o’ the Bear

A perennial favorite in our house, this trail has a mix of sun and shade, a creek and pond, and a cool climbing tree that even toddlers can enjoy.  There are convenient places to stop and picnic, and the trail is well marked with an easy footpath. Located near Morrison, Colorado, the trail can get a little crowded, but it’s a great hike for children of all ages.  Note that fall 2020 will bring closures to Hwy 74 due to rock fall mitigation during the week. So, the park will only be accessible on weekends during this time. 

https://www.jeffco.us/1254/Lair-o-the-Bear-Park/

Children’s Hike on Clear Creek Trail

With access from downtown Golden, Colorado, this paved trail is stroller friendly for even the littlest members of the family. It also has excellent rock hopping for the older kiddos to stay entertained as they make their way along the shallow banks of the creek. With nice shade and pretty fall foliage, this is an easy “hike” for when you need to get outside but also want creature comforts close by. Full disclosure, our kids love getting ice cream at Golden Sweets to enjoy along the way, and I can’t say I blame them.  

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/clear-creek-trail

Narrow Gauge and North Fork View Loop

This Colorado trail comes recommended by my niece, age 5. Located in Pine, CO, this is just over an hour drive from Castle Pines. An easy hike along both a lake and stream, this loop totals just under 2 miles. It has areas to stop for a picnic, plod around in the creek, and of course look at all the wildlife the water attracts. However, this trail offers almost no shade. So, it’s a hike best enjoyed in the morning or late afternoon or on a crisp fall day. 

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/narrow-gauge-and-north-fork-view-loop

Trail for Children in Castlewood Canyon State Park

Located in Franktown, CO, this hike does require a fee to access the state park. The entrance can be easy to miss so keep your eyes open for Castlewood Canyon Road! This hike will provide plenty of variety to keep your little ones entertained including Cherry Creek, a waterfall, interesting geology, canyon views, and even stone ruins of an old homestead and collapsed dam. 

https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/castlewoodcanyon

South Valley Park Trail

Head to Littleton, Colorado, with your children for some impressive views of red sandstone spires and outcroppings on this trail.  It can be a nice opportunity to let your little ones hit the trail for their first “mountain bike” ride. Just don’t forget the helmets and other protective gear!

https://www.jeffco.us/1431/South-Valley-Park/

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sun protection at every age. For babies under 6 months old, physical protection from the sun with a shade canopy or umbrella is advised, however, a small amount of mineral-based sunscreen (zinc or titanium dioxide) can be applied to exposed areas if absolutely necessary. Older children should wear sunglasses, loose and breathable clothing and hats, and utilize an SPF 30 sunscreen on exposed areas of skin. Choose mineral-based sunscreens over chemical sunscreens, and apply 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and every 2 hours thereafter. Castle Pines Pediatrics likes Blue Lizard Sunscreen for its bottle that changes from white to pink when exposed to UV light. It’s a great visual reminder that UV light exposure can happen even in the shade or on cloudy days. 

Enjoy this beautiful fall weather, and don’t forget to book your appointment to get your flu shot at castlepinespediatrics.com!

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