When traveling with children planning can be a bit more important. While some children are experienced in traveling the trails, others might have a bit less experience and need a foundation for which to start their exploration spirit to churning.
Red Rock Canyon has just the foundation as “Junior Rangers” are encouraged to get out and explore and learn more about the great outdoors which surrounds them.
We traveled to Red Rock on a Friday afternoon and stopped off in the Visitor Center to find out which trails would be ideal for a six year old. When we stopped to get a map the Park Rangers and staff were friendly and offered a Ranger activity book to our smallest travel companion as well as a ranger badge for his adventures. They advised of the Children’s Discovery Trail, a trail lined with educational signage and path around 3/4 of a mile.
We traveled to the stop which also happened to be near the Petroglyph Wall Trail, a short .15 miles, where parking was plenty. The canyon which the trails were located was shaded from the sun and chilly, despite the moderate temperatures of the day. Shaded much of the afternoon, this chill did not lift and instead turned a bit windy on our journey.
We first began with the Petroglyphs which travels along a wash and toward the mountain wall. On this wall there are several glyphs, ancient drawings, leaving stories of days past for all to see. The fascinating thing about the petroglyphs is that through all the years and all the deterioration these remain in tact.
We met a nice woman named Kathy who struggled to get to the wall as it is not ADA assessable and she was bound to a cane. Despite the uneven path with a little assistance she was able to make the trip down the trail with us and made for an amazing and fun conversation along the way.
Travel is about these kind of moments when you meet those around you and interact and enrich your travels along with theirs. Everyone can explore, it is just a matter of trying.
There was a bit of confusion as to where the second trail, the discovery trail, began when looking at the map. While it appeared to be in the same parking area, it was in fact in a parking just before the one we had stopped at. There are 3 entrances which all lead to the trail each leading to a different point of the loop.
We followed the furthest trail on the right and began to loop around, the beginning of this trail is wide and mostly even as it is a gravel path lined with large rocks to keep you focused on the correct direction. As the path begins a short climb the terrain changes to a sandy mixture which can become a bit slick.
As we traveled around the path we started having a few issues with grip as we got closer to the waterfall of Lost Creek. We could hear the water ahead of us on the now narrow path and several rocky stairs appeared around one of the bends. These were covered in the slick sand and while I was in hiking boots and didn’t feel any slipping, the guys were finding themselves slipping considerably.
Though this is a child friendly trail, this one portion I would recommend making sure you assist them across the uneven and slick terrain.
After emerying from the rock stairs it opens up into the Lost Creek waterfall, best viewed during spring. During winter is is more of a trickle into a small cold water pond, and while beautiful it is not at its full potential.
We enjoyed a lunch on the rocks by the falls before heading back down as temperatures began to drop even more as it closed in on 4 p.m. The sun sets around 4:30 so we had perfect time to get back to the car from the path just before it grew dark.
This trail all in all is a great place to take the kiddos. A great distance for building an adventurous foundation for travel for those just starting out, Red Rock has a few other similar trails ranking Easy or Moderate which average in distance from less than a mile to 3 miles.
Tips For This Hike:
Bring A Layer - Since temps in the canyon are considerably cooler in the afternoon, make sure to bring a light jacket for any hikes especially for children.
Stop At The Visitor Center - Since this hike targets children, make sure you stop off to take advantage of the Junior Ranger activities program in the Center, kiddos can learn more before they hit the trail about everything from wildlife which can be seen on the trail to conditions.
Bring A Snack - While it is always important to bring a snack on a hike, make sure when hiking with children you bring a snack for the half way point. If you are on this trail there are several places for sitting and enjoying a brief snack along the way.