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Hiking with the Kids: Family-Friendly Trails around Pagosa Springs

Whether your family is full of experienced hikers or you’re hitting the trails for the first time, Pagosa Springs hiking makes the perfect addition to any family vacation. Between the beautiful trees of the San Juan National Forest and stunning mountain backdrop, our Colorado town is the perfect place to make memories in the great outdoors.


Start your outdoor adventure with a stay at our RiverWalk Inn. Between excellent shopping and dining within walking distance and plenty of access to nearby trails, our inn is ideally located for the outdoorsy family. Book with us now for the picture-perfect outdoor getaway complete with luxurious accommodations and comforts well-suited for the whole family.


Girls are Hiking Pagosa Springs path wearing mountain boots and walking sticks.

RiverWalk Inn & Pagosa Springs for Family Travel

Pagosa Springs makes the perfect setting for a family getaway. With so many picturesque natural features, you don’t have to walk far for a great view and thrilling day outdoors. Hike the surrounding trails or visit the hot springs, then head into town to end your day around the table at a local restaurant.


When choosing a destination for your outdoor adventure, our Pagosa Springs Hotel is the perfect choice. We’re located a short distance from the center of town along the picturesque San Juan River. Local dining and shopping destinations are only a short walk away, and hiking trails for any experience level can be found nearby.


We offer sizable rooms with up to three queen beds, great if you’re looking to bring all the kids along. When you aren’t relaxing in our luxurious linens, picnic outside in the gazebo or at the picnic tables while the kids run around the spacious grounds.


Pagosa Springs Hiking Trails for Families

family Hiking Pagosa Springs to san juan river

A multitude of trails crisscross the wilderness surrounding Pagosa Springs, providing plenty of hiking opportunities. Take an easy trail through a local park, hike along the San Juan River, or bring the kids out to the San Juan National Forest to see beautiful aspen trees and wildflowers.


Reservoir Hill Park is a neighborhood park offering a few short, easy hiking trails. Take a brisk walk to the observation deck at the top of the hill and admire the scenic view or take a family photo op against the mountain backdrop. If the kids are still full of energy after the hike, let them run off steam on the playground.


Located right in the backyard of our inn, the Pagosa Springs Riverwalk is a fully-paved trail that runs along the San Juan River. Bring the stroller along and let the kids run down the river searching for critters and aquatic plants along the bank. If you’re not worried about wet clothes, there are also plenty of areas where kids can roll up their pants and wade into the water.


The Piedra River Trail will require a drive out of town, but makes a great destination for a family-friendly hike through the San Juan National Forest. The full trail runs approximately ten miles, but the easiest portion begins at the upper trailhead. From there, enjoy a mile hike through the wooded area with opportunities to see beautiful natural features like a deep rock canyon and distant mountain peaks.


Hiking Tips for Families

Whether you’re a hiking expert or first-time family adventurer, here are a few tips to make your outdoor outing with the kids a successful one.


  • Choose a trail with interesting features. Kids will have the best time hiking if the trip gives them opportunities to see new things like mountaintops or waterfalls.

  • Plan for a slow hike. Go at a leisurely pace to give the little ones time to see and touch all kinds of things on the trail.

  • Prepare games for the trip. Keep the boredom away with games like “I Spy” or send the kids on a scavenger hunt to find unique things on the trail.

  • Keep it short. Choose a shorter trail or small portion of a longer trail to keep the kids from getting tuckered out before the end of the hike.

  • Come prepared. Preparing for a hike with kids starts with excellent hiking gear like spacious trail packs or a sturdy sling for babies. From there, fill your packs with all the essentials:

    • Snacks – Go for hearty snack bars or trail mix.

    • Water – Pack plenty and assume some might get spilled on the hike.

    • Jackets & Hats – Even in spring, it may get chilly on the trail.

    • Wet wipes & tissues – Prepare for runny noses, sticky hands and any other messes.

    • Bug spray – Keep the itchy mosquito bites away.

    • Sunscreen – Lather up if the sun is out.

    • First Aid Kits – Make sure your prepared for scraped knees and elbows while on the trail.


Best Times to Hike with the Kids

When planning your Pagosa Springs vacation with hiking in mind, it is best to visit in a season when trails are most accessible for your family outing. A spring or summer trip will mean that trails are easily accessible and not clogged with snow and ice. If you hike in thewarmer months, you also won’t have to worry about snow gear like puffy coats or snow boots.


Choosing the best time of day to hike is also crucial. If you leave shortly after breakfast, the kids will have more energy and be less likely to get tired on the trail. A morning hike will also tire out the kids just in time for an afternoon nap.


Post-Hike Activities

Keep up the energy on the hike with the promise of a fun, post-hike activity. Whether you plan to grab an ice cream cone or visit local attractions, Pagosa Springs has plenty of activities to fill your afternoon.


A post-hike treat can be an excellent incentive for the kids. Reward yourself and the little ones with a delicious pizza dinner at Mountain Pizza Taproom or a banana split from the Malt Shoppe.


Capitalize on your kids’ interest in the outdoors with a trip to Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park. The unique local zoo allows guests to see Colorado animals up-close in their natural habitats. Kids will love seeing animals from mountain lions to moose to porcupines while knowledgeable guides teach the whole family about the animals.


If everyone is in need of a little relaxation, return to our RiverWalk Inn for some rest. The whole family can gather around a firepit or relax under the gazebo, or parents can enjoy the jacuzzi and dry sauna.


beautiful mountain view when Hiking Pagosa Springs

Stay with Us for Outdoor Adventure

Our RiverWalk Inn is the perfect destination for you and your family to explore the great outdoors and everything Pagosa Springs has to offer. Book now to reconnect with nature and experience the beauty of Colorado and our mountain town. Don’t forget to share this post and tell us all about your incredible Pagosa Springs vacation.



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