Strolling Through Your National Parks

May 6, 2019Katherine RivardHappy Trails
Everglades National Park

National park-loving parents know the dilemma well: even if a child can walk, little legs tend to tire quickly, and a stroller is often essential for extended outings. Luckily, many national parks have trails and paths that make traveling with wheels easy to do. Load up the stroller and get ready to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque with your young park lovers!

Through the Heart of Mount Desert Island

Acadia National Park carriage road

Acadia National Park carriage road and bridge

Shutterstock

The historic carriage roads in Acadia National Park wind through the park’s lush forested landscape. They’re also paved and closed to motor vehicles, making them easy to navigate with bikes, strollers, and wheelchairs during the warmer months. The roads enable visitors to enjoy the sweeping vistas that John D. Rockefeller Jr., the creator of the roads, so loved. Follow the carriage roads through the park or consider some of the other accessible paths that branch off and out to scenic Jordan Pond.

Wildlife Viewing in the Marsh

Person walking on Bobcat Boardwalk Trail at Everglades National Park

Bobcat Boardwalk Trail 

National Park Service

At Everglades National Park, visitors will find many short trails that are either paved or on boardwalks. Shark Valley is the perfect spot for strolling with kids. Not only is bobcat boardwalk easy for walking with strollers, but the area is also full of wildlife for visitors to enjoy. Kids will be all eyes and ears as they travel through sawgrass marsh and past tree islands. Visitors with wheels can also find a number of other accessible trails, including Gumbo Limbo trail beneath the trees and air plants, or Anhinga Trail, through a sawgrass marsh.

Fall(s) in Love with a Montana Gem

The Trail of the Cedars boardwalk at Glacier National Park

The Trail of the Cedars at Glacier National Park

Tomas Nevesely / Alamy Stock Photo

The Trail of the Cedars and Running Eagle Falls are two wheel-friendly trails worth visiting at Glacier National Park. These two nature trails provide short walks for visitors to enjoy at their own pace. Running Eagle Falls follows a .6-mile path, ultimately leading to a footbridge before ending at the bottom of a cliff with 20-foot falls. Meanwhile, Trail of the Cedars is on the west end of the park and provides a loop past scenic views of the lower Avalanche Gorge and ancient western hemlocks. Waterfalls, towering cedars, and rushing waters – there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy on these trails through one of Montana’s most iconic parks.

At the Confluence of Two Rivers and Three States

Aerial view of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Aerial view of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

National Park Service

Through a generous contribution of $100,000, the National Park Foundation helped Harpers Ferry National Historical Park refurbish The Point, restore its overlook, and build a new ADA walkway and landscape — which means the area is fully accessible to those in wheelchairs or traveling with strollers. The area provides striking views of the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers surrounded by forested mountains. Still not impressed?  This lookout also allows you to take in three states (Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia) at the same time!

Into the Forest of Giants

Sherman Tree Trail at Sequoia NP

Sherman Tree Trail path

Chris Putnam / Alamy Stock Photo

Unable to take the half-mile trail, complete with a few stairs, to visit the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park? Visitors may access the path to the iconic tree by taking a park shuttle, depending on the season, to a short, accessible trail that will allow you to enjoy the park’s mind-boggling forest more easily. You’ll stand in awe beneath the world’s largest tree, and can learn even more about the sequoias as you stop in to the Giant Forest Museum or complete a Junior Ranger badge at a visitor center.

Historical Family Fun

Cabins at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Cabins at Valley Forge National Historical Park

Paul Brady / Alamy Stock Photo

Taking the encampment tour at Valley Forge National Historical Park is a fun, and educational, opportunity for the whole family. Most of the stops along this 10-mile self-guided driving tour may be reached via a paved path, while others can be enjoyed from the walkways. Visitors can also explore the Joseph Plumb Martin trail, an almost 7-mile paved loop past key historic and interpretive sites.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to introduce your kids to the wonder of national parks at a young age – there are many trails to be explored and stories to learn. As you prepare for your next trip, plan a stop into the park visitor center, learn how you can earn a Junior Ranger badge, and discover the many paved paths and boardwalks peppered across the National Park System. Even from strollers, children will be able to create lifelong bonds with their national parks and come away with an array of family memories.


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