6 Family Friendly Hikes in Cooler Weather to beat the AZ Heat


Hi Friends, 

I refuse to hike when it gets warm, although my husband would hike anytime of year in the East Valley.

So when it starts to get too hot for me, we venture out for day trips or even weekend getaways to cooler weather. Here are a few family friendly hikes we’ve done and love in cooler summer temps.



  1. See Canyon Trail, Christopher Creekfamily hike

Christopher Creek is great for day trips as it is only about an hour and a half drive depending on where you are located. See Canyon Trail is rated as difficult. However, if you are only going a couple miles (like us, with toddlers who can’t go very far) the first couple miles are pretty easy.

We turned around when it started to get too difficult. It is absolutely beautiful hiking along a river. It was a great place to picnic and hike. Almost the whole trail is completely shaded making it an even greater escape from the heat.

There is another trail in Christopher Creek (The Christopher Creek trail, which is rated as easy and kid friendly- although we’ve never been personally).

2. Tonto Natural Bridge, Payson 

Another great one for a day trip as it is even closer than Christopher Creek. Tonto Natural Bridge is a state park so you will need to check hours of operation, which change depending on seasons.

Tonto Natural Bridge is GORGEOUS. There are 3 different hiking trails located on site. The main trail, Tonto Natural Bridge Trail is rated as difficult, however with the right shoes and hand-holding across a few slippery rocks- I think it doable for a family who has been hiking before. You just can’t beat the views, or the cool breeze from the waterfall in the hot months. (We’re working on a full blog post specifically for this hike, stay tuned!)

3. Buffalo Park, Flagstafffamily hikes

I’ll post about this “park” until I’m blue in the face because I’m a huge fan. It is absolutely beautiful and has a variety of trails perfect for hiking or even off-road strollers. Some of the trails are flat but unpaved (Nate Avery trail is all flat with only one dip).

It is surrounded by gorgeous mountains (some snow-covered if you go early or late in the year).

We’ve been in the middle of summer, when it was about 80 degrees and still wonderful and we’ve also been in December when there is some snow to play with. Year-round this park is just super fun for the family. 

4. Sawmill Nature County Park, Flagstaff 

This park has a playground and is home to several nature trails. While it isn’t quite “hiking” it’s a great place as an introduction to hiking.

With a playground, in case your kids want to bail, and flat unpaved trails. It’s perfect as a place to start with coffee (and of course, water) in hand. 

5. Sunset Cliffs Park Trail, San Diego

Last April, we ventured to San Diego for a quick weekend family getaway and checked out two hikes that were labeled as “kid friendly” while there.

I looooved Sunset Cliffs Park Trail. With absolutely incredible views and a mostly flat surface to walk along.

It’s only 1 mile long, but definitely worth the family trip for some easy hiking/walking and great views. It is, as stated, on a cliff so be sure to be ready for a good hand grip or a carrier for little ones. 

6. Point Loma Tide Pools and Coastal Trail 

I was super unprepared when we showed up for this “hike.”

It is a National Park, and parking/visiting does cost more than I expected. It is definitely more of a half-day or full day trip than it is a hike as there is plenty to do and see, including some fun tide pools if you go during the right time (look up tide times before heading off).

The hike itself was easy and my kid’s loved it, it was honestly their favorite hike to date. There was SO much to see in every direction. It truly was breath-taking views. We ended up going back the next day because the pass we paid for was good for a full week, and I’m so glad we did.

A few tips for hiking with kids

  1. Research the trail before you head out so you know what to expect. As I have mentioned above, I like alltrails.com
  2. Bring plenty of water! Amazon has some options for kid-sized Camelbak style hydration packs. If your kid is old enough to wear a backpack and hike, this takes a load off you.
  3. Snacks. Snacks. Snacks…they can carry their own in their fancy new hydration pack! Make sure to keep track of the wrappers so you don’t litter!
  4. Hold hands if the trails seem rough and keep them within an arms reach on steeper trails.
  5. Take lots of breaks. They’re kids and this is a new skill for them. The first couple times be prepared to turn back before the end of the trail and don’t take it too seriously if you do. It’s supposed to be fun and will get easier the more you go!
  6. Check the weather. Especially when you are venturing out to new locations or areas you haven’t been before. 


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Ashley is Disney-Obsessed Momma to 2 adorable little ones (Charlotte & John) who are both in their toddler years. She has two fun and lovable rescue pups, and an amazing husband whom she first met in second grade. Together they all enjoy hiking and supporting small local businesses. In her free time Ashley is a basic mom who, like most, enjoys Target, coffee, and wine! She also enjoys traveling to Disneyland and eating Pineapple Dole Whip frequently. She loves eating all things sweet, and loves the rain! She is a HUGE fan of watching Disney movies and drinking iced coffee year round. It’s never too cold for iced coffee, seriously, she drinks it in the snow. Ashley’s perfect day (besides a day spent in Disneyland) would be snuggling on the couch watching a Disney movie with a great cup of iced coffee, and the door open to the rain outside!


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