Looking for a great hike for the whole family? Below are four hikes ranging from easy to moderate that even kids will tolerate. These family-friendly hikes are all conveniently located from Eagle River to Eklutna, making them easily accessible from Anchorage or the Valley.

Thunderbird Falls

If you are looking for a hike the whole family can do, especially those with young children, this is the hike for you! A stunning and powerful 200-foot waterfall awaits you after only hiking a mile. You can view the waterfall from the upper viewing deck, or down below and experience the rushing of the water as it crashes to the ground from the opposite side of the river bank.

The view from above provides hikers with water cascading down the mountainside, some of which is hidden from view by nearby trees. If you go a bit earlier in the spring, you’ll notice all the icicles that have formed, hanging on as water keeps falling down.

When you take the path that leads to the lower part of the waterfall, make sure to not only take in the views of the waterfall and river, but that of the landscape around you too. You will find it hard to resist not checking out the tree that is big enough for you to stand in. Thunderbird Falls is more than just a waterfall, it’s a place for exploring nature and making memories with your family.

Hunter’s Pass

Your adventure begins at the trailhead with a few switchbacks. As you approach the mountainside, the incline will be moderately steep. Once you reach the Hunter Pass signpost, the incline will increase. Making your way to the top takes approximately 30 minutes.

Those who are feeling a bit more adventurous may want to venture out and explore more peaks. The choice is yours. If you choose to explore further, head north and find your way to Rendevous Peak. After about 30 minutes of ascending, you will arrive and will be rewarded with extraordinary, incredible views of Eagle River, the ocean, Anchorage, and mountain ranges as far as the eyes can see. If you choose to travel west, you will come upon a rock field to cross, leading you to views of Anchorage, the ocean, Sleeping Lady and so much more.

Regardless of the path or time of year, you choose to explore and adventure, Hunter’s Pass offers up something for everyone. If you don’t consider yourself to be much of a photographer, you will feel like a professional on this hike. Take in the beauty and views at all levels and you will begin to see the world around you changes. Capture the moments and the memories. Go where you have never gone before. Your next adventure awaits. Where is your adventurous spirit calling you to be?

Mount Baldy

Every time I look out from my front window, walk out my front door, drive to go somewhere, Mount Baldy is staring back at me, looking me in the face. My name keeps being called by this mountain top. It keeps teasing and taunting me, telling me to travel that way.

Yes, this is the reality of my daily living! As the snow melts, revealing the face for climbing, I am finding myself having more of the itch, an urge, to go say hello, hi! To get to the top from the front side, you will start with many switchbacks. The higher you go, the steeper the climb. What makes the steep part of the climb more challenging, are the loose rocks and places where water is flowing down. It’s easy to lose your traction, slip, fall. Take your time, making sure you have secured your grip and with this climb you will do just fine.

The average person will make it to the top in about 45 minutes. Reaching the top provides you with the opportunity to sit back, feeling as if you are on top of the world, taking in all the sights and enjoying the peace of the land. If you are feeling ambitious, the trail doesn’t end when you reach the top. There is much more than meets the eye, behind the beauty of Mount Baldy. Question is, does your adventure continue exploring more mountain tops and peaks, or are you ready to call it a day?

Twin Peaks

If an adventure is what you are seeking, Twin Peaks Trail offers a moderate challenge and beautiful views. Summertime is the best time for hiking, especially if you want to travel further along the trail. Even in late spring, hikers are challenged in accessing the peaks due to the possibility of falling through deep now (up to the waist and beyond).

Starting out on the trail, there are several switchbacks as you make your way up the mountain. There are areas of water running, providing mud and less traction on shoes, as well as many tree roots and rocks along the way. Walking sticks would provide you with some extra support for your adventure hiking up and on your way down.

As you get to the first bench, you will want to stop and catch your breath (from either hiking or the breathtaking views)! In the distance, Eklutna Lake, surrounded by lush green vegetation and flowers in the foreground, is a photographer’s dream. Having so many beautiful components of nature all in one place, such an incredible view as you go higher in elevation.

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Hiking around the edge of the mountain provides hikers with mostly unobstructed views of Twin Peaks in the distance. You will know when you have found them, just by taking a look off in the direction of North, the peaks are in your view. You’ll find a second bench to sit and rest on for a short (or a longer while). Breathe, take in the view, enjoy the splendor and sound of being outdoors. As you pause, think about your skill level and ability as you can go a bit further up the saddle, or climb high on a rough and rugged, rocky, steep terrain.


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