The whole family has got a bike, a helmet, and is ready to go have some fun! But where to go?
Many bike trails are NOT kid friendly, and you certainly don’t want to have your first outing on a trail that causes frustration or tears. That’s why we’ve put together a list of suggestions and tools you can use to find kid friendly bike trails near you.
Join A Club Or Group
One of the easiest (and funnest ways) to find kid friendly bike trails is to have someone show you! If you don’t already have family friends that bike, then join a local club or group.
Don’t know of any groups in your area? Check out our list of family bike rides, clubs, and development programs.
We’ve written guides on some of our favorite areas to ride. And we’ll be adding more in the near future!
- Salt Lake City/Park City, UT
- Lake Tahoe, CA/NV
- Kingdom Trails, VT
- Mickelson Trail, SD
- Phoenix, AZ
- St. George, UT
- Cuyuna Lake, MN
- Little Valley Instructional Trails, UT
- Sun Valley, ID
- Gooseberry Mesa, UT
And if you’re looking for downhill mountain bike trails, check out our list of family friendly resorts.
Our favorite map-based tool is Trailforks. This is an app you can download on your phone (recommended) or you can use their website.
Trails appear on the map as green, blue, or black. Green trails are the easy ones, and are a great place to start! You may also see purple trails which are usually paved paths, rail trails, or gravel roads and are often good for kids as well.
Other App-Based Tools
While Trailforks is our personal favorite, there are plenty of other online and app-based tools. These include Strava, MTB Project, TrailLink, and BikeMap. TrailLink in particular is wonderful resource for finding family friendly paved bike paths and rail trails.
Local Bike Maps
See if you town has a local bike map. You can Google “[your town] bike map” and see what pops up–usually a PDF.
Local bike maps usually show low traffic bike routes, paved paths, and even dirt trails. These are usually color coded for difficulty as well.
Local Guide Books
If you live in a popular mountain bike area, chances are that there’s a local guide book written about the trails. These are great as they provide a detailed description of each ride, and probably even suggest which routes are family friendly. They’ll also provide information on swimming holes, rope swings, and other attractions you might find along the trail.
Ask At A Local Bike Shop
Local bike shops are a wealth of information. Stop on in and ask for advice on where to ride.
We’ve even compiled a list of family friendly bike shops that are a great place to start. Many of these shops even offer rides or host Kiddical Mass events.
Ask Other Families
Who knows the most about family friendly bike trails? Other families who like to bike!
While we already suggested joining a local ride or club, if you didn’t find anything in your area, you can still put in a little effort to meet these families. How?
If you have a local pump track or skills park, this is a great place to meet people. In fact, we’ve met countless friends all across the country simply by stopping at the local pump track.
You can also look for these folks online. We have a “Biking With Kids” Facebook group with families from all over. Come join us and ask the community where they would suggest biking!
Ride Some Trails By Yourself First
I pretty much always ride a trail by myself first before taking my son on it. This allows me to see if it’s actually his ability level (green and blue trails can vary wildly in terms of how difficult they are).
It also allows me to be able to coach him along the way. If I know how long a climb is, I’m able to tell him how much further he’s got to the top.
I can also scope out good spots to stop for a snack or fun rocks to climb on. Biking with kids is rarely as much about the biking as it about the adventure.