With two active kiddos—currently two and four—finding ways to help them expend energy has become something of a mission for our family (with a decent nap as the big payout). We love playgrounds and are always excited for a good open gym, but it’s hiking that’s captured our kids’ interest and worked its way into our weekly routine.
We’ve spent the last year and a half exploring the local trails, and I’ve picked up a few tricks (hiking is an adventure – hiking with a toddler and preschooler is next level) and settled on a few favorite local trails.
Three Kid-Friendly Hiking Trails Near Woodstock
First, a quick note on “kid-friendly” because as we’ve moved from one kid to two and infant to preschooler it’s been an ever-evolving category. Trails that were perfectly doable with one slightly older kiddo felt nearly impossible when my youngest started to toddle. Trails that are challenging for your family one week may be a perfect fit the next! So, if you live in or around Woodstock and are looking to get outside, here are a few of our family’s favorite spots.
If you’ve visited Downtown Woodstock, you’ve probably seen the signs for the paved trails that run from Elm Street Green up to Highway 92 and in the opposite direction over towards Woodstock High School. If you aren’t quite committed to truly immersing yourself in the woods just yet, the Noonday Creek and Towne Lake Pass trails that are part of this system are a great opportunity to ease into it.
If you have littles that still ride in a stroller (lucky you!) or older kids who like to bike or ride a scooter, the wide pavement is the perfect setting (while still nestled among a few trees, of course).
Mostly known for its mountain bike trails, Rope Mill Park has a couple of great options for young hikers, too! A short, wide paved trail runs from the parking lot along Little River, and it’s a great place to hear birds, see frogs, and let an excited toddler use their running feet.
Just across the river from the paved trail is a mostly flat (with a few minor root scrambles for those with shorter legs) hiking trail that my four-year-old can’t get enough of. It’s in the woods, it feels like an adventure, and it’s the exact right level of challenge. For him. Adding a fearless two-year-old to the mix is one step too adventurous for me, though, so we skip this one when she’s along for the fun.
It’s worth noting that there are several other great trails at Rope Mill Park where priority is given to mountain bike riders. They’re fun (and ok!) to hike, but if you’re like me, dodging bikers with young kiddos moves “great Saturday morning activity” into the “well that’s not relaxing” category.
Depending on where you live in Woodstock, Red Top Mountain may be more of a drive since it’s technically in Cartersville. But for us, it’s so worth it! The park boasts several entry-level hiking trails that are adventure-ready and toddler-friendly. We particularly like the White Tail trail for a short one-mile out and back and the Sweetgum trail is our four-year-old’s favorite. If you find yourself with a free morning and an itch to get outside, I can’t recommend Red Top Mountain enough!