Contrary to many adult’s views that kids are only interested in video games, one thing we know is that given a chance, kids love the outdoors! Kids are spending time outdoors – just not doing nature-oriented activities. Young children spend more time outdoors than older adolescents. So, it’s the adult’s responsibility to cultivate the love for nature-related outdoor activities, not the kid.
One of the keys is to start young and go easy. Your young hiker is probably not all hyped up about peak bagging. On this kid-ready hike list, we’ll do just that, give you some hikes that are interesting, not too hard, and have a good return on investment. Don’t expect solitude on these hikes, but that’s okay because we’ve come to find over the years that young kids enjoy seeing and meeting people on the trail!
Kaaterskill Falls (1 & 2)
There’s not much more exciting for a kid (or adult) than a hike to a waterfall – and these series of waterfalls might be the best in the Northeast. Located in one of the most historical places in the Catskill Park, it’s a place to start your kid’s nature love affair.
What makes them even better is that you have two trailheads to pick from. One goes to the bottom of the falls (“harder”) and the other to the top (very, very, easy). Also, there are porta-potties at the top trailhead, something always good traveling with kids.
Red Hill Fire Tower (3)
The Red Hill Fire Tower is one of the five restored Catskill towers. This tower presents the hiker with an unmatched vista of the Catskill high peaks to the west and north and the Rondout Reservoir to the southeast. Also, in season, you may be able to see the observer cabin.
The out and back are just under 3-miles with a short but stiff climb. Near the tower is a great place to spend some time having a picnic. One afternoon we climbed this with a group of Boy Scouts with a large birthday cake to celebrate a year of Scout’s birthdays. Bring a frisbee to play in the large grassy meadow.
Vroman’s Nose (4)
Although not in the Catskill Park’s blueline, this hike is in the Catskill Mountains, which extend outside the park. This small peak provides extensive views. Trail difficulty ranges from relatively easy to difficult depending on your route taken. The Long Path also crosses the summit. Please remember that the cliffs on the summit are dangerous, so take in the views set back from the edge.
Backwoods wanderer with a passion for backpacking, hiking, and exploring the wilds of the Catskills and Adirondacks in New York. A Catskill 3500 Club Member and Adirondack Forty-Sixer. Climbed Mount Rainier. Professionally an Exercise Physiologist.