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14 Family-Friendly Hikes to Do Over Spring Break

Looking to hit the trail over spring break? We've got some hike suggestions that'll be great for the whole family.

Spring break is a great time to plan some family fun! With the kids off from school and the winter blues fading away to make room for a sunnier spring, heading out on a family hike is the perfect way to spend a day together. 

We've got some hike ideas to keep in your back pocket for the whole family when spring break rolls around (or anytime you're looking for a great early-season hike.)  

Marblemount boat launch trail

Length: 1.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: minimal
Location: North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Highway 20

Wooded green Marblemount Boat Launch Trail. Photo by Muledeer.
A pocket of green when the rest of the Cascades are still covered in snow. Photo by Muledeer. 

When the rest of the North Cascades are blanketed in snow, this trail provides a place to stretch your legs just outside of the national park. The trailhead has a trail sign with a map of the short, wooded trail, which starts off following the Skagit River before turning to follow the Cascade River. Not only are there opportunities for wildlife watching, but you might also be able to peek at some snow-capped mountains from above the trees. 

> Plan your hike on the Marblemount Boat Launch Trail using WTA's Hiking Guide

Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Length: 10 miles of trails
Elevation gain: varies
Location: North Cascades > North Cascades Highway - Highway 20

Arch over the trailhead and an informational sign at Howard Miller Steelhead Park. Photo by Alistair.
Don't forget to stop to read about the area and some of the wildlife you might see on the informational signs. Photo by Alistair.

With 10 miles of trails available to you and your family, you'll be able to craft your own hike, whether you just want to go for a short walk or spend the whole day outside. Keep an eye out for beavers — or evidence on logs and trees that they've been around — and read up on the other wildlife in the area on the informational boards along the trail. 

> Plan your visit to Howard Miller Steelhead Park using WTA's Hiking Guide

Camp Brown

Length: 0.45 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: minimal
Location: Snoqualmie Region > North Bend area

Picnic table and charcoal grate at a picnic site on the Camp Brown trail. Photo by hksnoopy.
Enjoy lunch at a picnic site right on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. Photo by hksnoopy.

Not only is this loop trail beautiful and well-maintained but it was built following the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The forested trail has interpretive signs throughout, as well as access to the gravel shore of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. And if you decide to pack lunch, you can snag one of the many picnic sites, which include tables and charcoal grates for you to use. 

Be aware that winter and spring sometimes bring down trees in this area, so you may not be able to complete the full loop without going over or under a fallen log.   

> Plan your visit to Camp Brown using WTA's Hiking Guide

Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park

Length: 2.2 miles of trails
Elevation gain: varies
Location: Central Washington > Yakima

Trail along the Yakima River at Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park. Photo by ejain.
From highway sounds to river sounds in barely any time at all. Photo by ejain.

It's only a short drive from Ellensburg to this park right off of I-90. The park sits right on the Yakima River and a couple of short trails take you along the river and around People's Pond between the river and the highway. You'll  likely see park visitors playing lawn games or playing at the water when it's warm out. With plenty of trail to roam and space to run around, this is a great place for both adults and kids to spend a sunny afternoon. 

> Plan your visit to Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park using WTA's Hiking Guide

Colfax Trail

Length: 6.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 260 feet
Location: Eastern Washington > Palouse and Blue Mountains

Basalt cliff outcroppings on the Colfax Trail. Photo by GER-IS.
Looking at these basalt cliffs, you might find yourself — or your little one — asking how they got here. Photo by GER-IS.

This mild and flat trail allows hikers a quiet and calm place to take in the large basalt cliffs and wildlife in the area. You might see deer and many different bird species like geese and swallows — and if you're lucky, you might even spy a porcupine or a moose! Make sure to teach your kids the importance of giving wildlife space and watching from a distance. 

> Plan your hike on the Colfax Trail using WTA's Hiking Guide

Finch Arboretum

Length: 1.3 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: minimal
Location: Eastern Washington > Spokane area/Coeur d'Alene

A sign about Mallow Ninebark shrubs at Finch Arboretum. Photo by Holly Weiler.
Informational signs and tags throughout the arboretum tell you more about the plants around you. Photo by Holly Weiler.

This special green space is only a short drive from downtown Spokane. As you walk around Finch Arboretum, you'll get to see all sorts of different plant life around the botanical and tree garden. Print out the self-guided walking tour reference guide and enjoy the variety of flora in this urban plant oasis. 

> Plan your visit to the Finch Arboretum using WTA's Hiking Guide

banner forest Heritage Park

Length: 4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: minimal
Location: Olympic Peninsula > Kitsap Peninsula

Trail at Banner Forest Heritage Park. Photo by Patrick Sullivan.
WTA loves this forest, and we think you and your family will too. Photo by Patrick Sullivan.

Take the family out on a hike at this WTA-maintained trail system on the Kitsap Peninsula. Stay on the old-road-turned-trail as it winds through the forest, or head out on an adventure through the labyrinthine trail network around the road, twisting and turning through the park. Take a good look at the map at the trailhead if you decide to create your own adventure so you don't get lost! You could even let your kids help you plan your route. 

> Plan your visit to Banner Forest Heritage Park using WTA's Hiking Guide

Weatherwax trail

Length: 1.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: minimal
Location: Olympic Peninsula > Pacific Coast

Trailhead arch with signage (pack it in and pack it out, littering and overnight camping notice) at Weatherwax Trail. Photo by ShellTheExplorer.
It's always good to remind your little ones to pack out any trash! Photo by ShellTheExplorer.

When thinking about the Pacific Coast, you might not think about a forest walk, but this trail might change that for you. A trail meanders through the Weatherwax Preserve, a wetland ecosystem that is home to many critters and plants. The trail is not too long and relatively flat, great for young kids to explore a forest and try to identify plants and wildlife. 

> Plan your hike on the Weatherwax Trail using WTA's Hiking Guide

black diamond open space

Length: 17 miles of trails
Elevation gain: varies
Location: Puget Sound and Islands > Seattle-Tacoma area

Blue picnic table next to the water at Black Diamond Open Space. Photo by ejain.
A perfect place for a picnic. Photo by ejain.

With a huge trail network to check out, you've got a full day's worth of outdoor exploration at your fingertips at this 1,240-acre green space. You can shorten or lengthen your adventures based on your kid's energy level or how long you have before naptime. As you walk through wetlands and bogs, along streams and into the forest, watch for  wildlife like beavers and salmon. Bring lunch and break up your day in the park with a quiet picnic. 

> Plan your visit to the Black Diamond Open Space using WTA's Hiking Guide

Breazeale Interpretive Center

Length: 1.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 124 feet
Location: Puget Sound and Islands > Bellingham area

Two children hiking on the trail at Breazeale Interpretive Center. Photo by L3Adventures.
A great trail for hikers of all ages and experience levels. Photo by L3Adventures.

The Padilla Bay Reserve is not only home to a few short nature trails, but also marine life exhibits and an aquarium within the Breazeale Interpretive Center, open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At low tide, you can even head down to the beach.

Make a full day of it here by exploring the nature trails and doing some birdwatching and plant identification or spending some time at the beach, then head over to the interpretive center, where your kids can learn about the local marine life. 

> Plan your visit to the Breazeale Interpretive Center using WTA's Hiking Guide

whistle punk trail

Length: 1.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 174 feet
Location: Southwest Washington > Columbia River Gorge - WA

Remnants of old logging equipment along the Whistle Punk Trail. Photo by Anna Roth.
This hike is both a nature walk and a history lesson. Photo by Anna Roth.

"Whistle punks" were the ones who let other loggers know that a log was hooked up and ready to move, and this trail is a great place to learn a little more. Informational signs along the trail provide more information about logging and your little ones might find some artifacts left behind from the logging era particularly interesting — be ready to hear a lot of "What is that?" from the kids. 

The second part of the trail brings you deep into the forest before reaching an observation deck where you can do some birdwatching before heading back to the car. 

> Plan your hike on the Whistle Punk Trail using WTA's Hiking Guide

Klickitat haul road

Length: 7.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 825 feet
Location: South Cascades > Mount Adams area

"What do you see now?" interpretive sign on the Klickitat Haul Road trail. Photo by Susan Saul.
Learn more about how the old road became a trail on your hike. Photo by Susan Saul.

Previously a logging railroad and then a haul road along the Klickitat River, this trail is now used primarily by hikers and bikers rather than loggers and logging machinery. Hugging the Klickitat River, the trail starts off near the highway but eventually heads away from the sounds of traffic, where you'll be able to do some birdwatching or look out for salmon. An interpretive sign at the end of the maintained trail offers more information about how the trail came to be.

> Plan your hike on the Klickitat Haul Road using WTA's Hiking Guide

Columbia Plateau Trail - Snake River

Length: 6.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 150 feet
Location: Central Washington > Tri-Cities

An adult with two kids hiking on the Columbia Plateau Trail - Snake River with water in the background. Photo by Happydiaz.
A great wide trail for your kids to run around on (but be careful of slippery pebbles!). Photo by Happydiaz. 

Take a walk with the family along the Snake River on a wide riverside path — wide enough for you to walk side-by-side with your little one. This gentle trail is a great hike for all ages. During the spring, there's a chance you'll get to see migratory birds in the middle of their journey north. 

> Plan your hike on the Columbia Plateau Trail - Snake River using WTA's Hiking Guide

Pulaski Tunnel Trail

Length: 4.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 800 feet
Location: Idaho

Placard in memoriam/memory of the firefighters who were lost in fighting wildfires on the Pulaski Tunnel Trail. Photo by ashleymarie93.
Learn all about a tool that probably helped build this trail and has helped in firefighting efforts for over 100 years. Photo by ashleymarie93.

Looking to take a trip out of Washington? Head over to the Pulaski Tunnel Trail, a creekside interpretive hike that has plenty of signs alongside the trail to share some of the history of the Pulaski tool — a fixture at all WTA work parties and the signature firefighting tool — and its original designer, Ed Pulaski — as well as some of the story of the Great Fire of 1910.

If you're interested in digging even deeper into the background of the trail with your little ones (or just for yourself), the Forest Service has more educational resources on its website.

> Plan your hike on the Pulaski Tunnel Trail using WTA's Hiking Guide