1. Think like a kid. Kids love adventures! When you are choosing a trail, think like a kid. Pick out one that has multiple features along the way- not just the grand finale at the end. Trails that follow a stream or pond, come across a meadow or have spectacular view are good choices. Many hiking trails in Keystone and Summit County feature old cabins or mining town remains- perfect to pair with a fun story about ‘history’ and the wild west!
2. Wander-ing is Fun! Kids are bound to take the path ‘less traveled’ by exploring as they go. Remember they might not always be pushing for ‘the end’ the same way adults do. Plan for distractions and diversions along the way and don’t be disappointed if you don’t always reach the end of the trail! The fun is in the journey, not always just the destination!
3. Assign a Guide.Your kids will love being the hike leader! Make a quick copy of the map of the trail and let them hang on to it and draw on if they want. Have them point out places they want to go and lead the way! Be on the lookout for animals and artifacts such as interesting stones, fossils, and wildflowers! Bring an inexpensive pair of binoculars and other fun toys like bug nets, whistles and a compass to enhance their fun. Follow their lead and have fun along the way!
4. Capture the Moment! Kids love being the center of attention- photograph them along the way with things they’ve found or next to that awesome lake- you’ll love the memories and they’ll love posing for the camera!
5. Always Be Prepared. You never know what will happen in the woods! Always make sure everyone has appropriate shoes, clothing, rain jackets, sunscreen, hats, food and water. Bring lots of snacks like nuts, string cheese, dried fruits, gummy candies, and M&M’s and let kids eat them as they please. It’s always a good idea to carry a basic first aid kit with neosporin, band-aids, etc. in case of emergencies. Don’t forget to bring a map or a GPS unit so you don’t get lost and a cell phone if you have one.
You will find that your family will love the beautiful scenery and the abundance of hiking trails here at Keystone Resort. Come prepared and everyone will have a great time enjoying the great outdoors! There are still 3 weeks left before school starts- meaning there is still time for a quick family getaway!!
Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy the mountains, and an extremely popular Colorado pastime. Keystone is a great place for families, friends and couples to take to the trails and experience the great outdoors. Your hike can be tailored to your expertise and athleticism from technical or weekend-long treks to a more leisurely day trip.
There are a few considerations, given the 12,000 foot elevation. Don’t forget to drink water, because the high altitude will cause you to dehydrate more quickly. Lather on sunscreen and be prepared by bringing rain gear. Weather can change quickly in the mountains. If you remember these key items, you are ready to go out and enjoy a fantastic day in Keystone. Below we’ve listed a few of the best trails in Summit County to start off with, and we’ll be sure to highlight more throughout the summer!
Dercum Mountain has some glorious view of the valley and the mountains. If you’d rather not take the somewhat taxing hike up the mountain, you can also take the gondola (for a fee) to the top and hike down. From the top, you can take Schoolmarm trail (3.5 miles) down or stay on top a while for some awesome photo opportunities. The difficulty depends on which trail you take, the Schoolmarm is pretty flat and easy to hike up or down and would be a seven mile loop (2300 vertical). There are some sections that are steep, but most of the trail winds down gently. There are several spin off trails that will fit your needs whether you want something steep or not, so you can tailor this to exactly what you are looking for.
Gold Hill (1.4 miles/ vertical minimal) – For those who desire a short easy jaunt Gold Hill Trail is just right. View the collections of about 50 different types of wildflowers. Glimpses of the Blue River valley are an added attraction. Gold Hill Trail rises gently to a level meadow area, and is shaded throughout the journey. If you are looking for a short, quick family walk, this is perfect in the height of summer and early summer when the flowers begin to bloom.
To get here from Keystone: Take Highway 6 and turn off onto Swan Mountain Road (which will become Hwy 9) and follow Hwy 9 south for 6 miles to a parking area on the west side of the road. A sign marks the trailhead.
Mayflower Gulch (2 miles/ vertical minimal) – This short, easy two mile hike leads to the site of Old Boston Mine and some of the most spectacular scenery in the Tenmile range. Hike the road to the right of Mayflower Creek past mining ruins to a clearing just below the mine site. Go left at the fork into the clearing to explore the ruins and the awesome views of the mountains. This is a popular trail for cross country skiers but in the summer season it provides a perfect place for a family picnic and some relaxation.
To get here from Keystone: Take Highway 6 back towards Dillon and take I-70 west to the Copper Mountain exit (exit 195). Take route 91 south toward Leadville for 5.8 miles. The parking lot for the Mayflower Gulch trailhead is on your left.