Grand Junction is host to world-class hiking trails, ranging from easygoing kid-friendly treks to leg-melting strenuous climbs. To keep your family active and enjoying the beauty that is the Grand Valley, here are five of the best family hikes chosen by the employees of REI.

Before you head out on your family adventure, make sure you're prepared and fill your backpack with these necessities:

  • Plenty of drinking water -- you don't want to dehydrate!
  • Sunblock -- it's never good to return as red as a lobster.
  • Lunch and/or snacks -- high-protein food for great energy.
  • Extra layers of clothing -- you could get caught in the rain or the temperature may drop.
  • A map and compass -- you don't want to get lost.
  • First-aid kit -- always be prepared, anything could happen.
  • Flashlight/headlamp -- if it suddenly gets dark, you can see where you're going.
  • Bug spray -- keep away all those little pests.
  • Whistle -- a great way to get attention if you're in trouble.
  • Trail Through Time

    Distance: 1.5 Miles

    Rating: Easy to Moderate

    Get an education and some exercise by visiting the Trail Through Time! Kids will enjoy seeing live paleontological digs (May through September,) fossilized dinosaur bones and plant life.

    You'll be amazed by the views of the La Sal Mountains, and Ruby Canyon.

    This hike is best done in spring and fall, temperatures can reach over 100+ degrees in the summer.

  • Colorado River Trail -- Audubon Secton

    Distance: Up to 5 Miles

    Rating: Easy to Moderate

    The Colorado River Trail system offers miles of hiking a short drive from downtown Grand Junction. The Audubon section is an easy portion with multiple opportunities to see wildlife, fish or just get away from it all.

    Along the trail, you'll find park benches to rest your weary feet, picnic areas to enjoy, and a few lakes that reflect the natural beauty of the area.

    This paved trail perfect year-round trek for hikers of every level.

  • Mica Mine Trail

    Distance: 2 Miles

    Rating: Easy to Moderate

    Mica Mine is a time-honored hike in Grand Junction, kids will enjoy straying from the trial to splash in Ladder Creek, while adults will enjoy the tranquility of Ladder Canyon.

    Among the canyon views, you'll see beautiful wildflowers, wild roses and more sagebrush and willows you can shake a stick at.

    During the wetter seasons, you may have to take a few trips across Ladder Creek, and if it's warm enough, the kids will enjoy the wetter route.

  • Echo Canyon Trail

    Distance: 3 Miles

    Rating: Easy to Moderate

    Wandering through a small box canyon, Echo Canyon Trail lives up to its reverberating name, gently descending along slickrock trails and a dry stream bed.

    If you're lucky and hit the trail at the right time, you can catch a glimpse of the rare canyon tree frog and stream orchids.

    Don't miss the No Thoroughfare Canyon Petroglyph site. It's unmarked, but a short jaunt off the trail.

    The trail ends at a seasonal waterfall, at this point you'll want to watch out for poison ivy lining the trail.

  • Devils Kitchen

    Distance: 1.5 Miles

    Rating: Easy to Moderate

    Another short trip from downtown Grand Junction, Devils Kitchen is just inside the Colorado National Monument's east entrance.

    Devils Kitchen offers an easy trek with quarry-stone steps, leading into the boulder and monolith-strewn area that makes up the kitchen.

    With ample opportunities to climb on the rocks, kids of all ages will enjoy hanging out in the kitchen.

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