While are endless trails to, hike in the summer in Central Oregon, not all are great for kids. These shorter day hikes are perfect for families with small kids, so hiking is less of a chore and all fun.
Tumalo Creek at the top of Skyliner Road
The beauty of Tumalo Creek is its proximity to town, its multiple cascades along the creek, the wildflower meadow at the top, and the fact that you can hike a little bit of the trail or a lot. Most visitors only reach as far as Tumalo Falls, an eight-nine-foot falls viewable from the parking lot. Set forth from the trailhead at the falls to view roughly eight smaller liered falls and turn around when you’re tired.
Driving time: 30 minutes
Distance: Approximately 7-mile loop or turn around when tired
Parking: $5 day pass or NW Forest Pass at Tumalo Falls trailhead
Open: May to October
Six Lakes Trail to Doris Lake off Cascade Lakes Highway
Ditch the crowds at the popular hiking trails and head to Six Lakes Trail which offers access to six different lakes. Just past Elk Lake Resort, the trail to Doris Lake makes a nice day hike at less than six miles round trip. The trail also passes by Blow Lake one mile in and offers great views of Broken Top, South Sister and Mount Bachelor.
Driving time: 45 minutes
Distance: Approximately 6 miles round trip
Parking: $5 day pass or NW Forest Pass at Six Lakes Trailhead
Open: May to September
Canyon Creek Meadows in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness
This easy, spectacular hike features wildflowers and ends with Three Fingered Jack right over your head. Jack Lake Road off of Santiam Pass leads you to this 4.5-mile loop. This short hike is ideal for family, as it is one of the easiest routes into Central Oregon’s wildflower meadows. For a more strenuous climb, continue up the steep terrain to an ice-filled lake and a breathtaking viewpoint of Three Fingered Jack’s pinnacles.
Driving time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Distance: 4.5-mile easy loop, 7.5-mile moderate loop
Parking: $5 day pass or NW Forest Pass at trailhead at Jack Lake
Open: Mid-July to October
Editors note: This story was originally published in June, 2018.