You don’t have to go far from home to find exciting experiences for you and your kids. I live in Bucks County PA and would like to share my favorite hiking spots. I have taken my toddlers to all of these places and we have always enjoyed them.
Peace Valley Hiking Trails
Peace Valley Park as a heavily trafficked 10k paved pathway that goes around Lake Galena. The paved path attracts runners (commonly myself with my jogging strollers), cyclists (I cycle my toddler around this path), walkers, boaters and bird watchers. On a sunny summer’s day this path is inundated with people. However, luckily for me (and now you), on the east side of the park there is a network of trails that are unknown to most; they are truly a hidden gem!
I park at the northeast side of the park off of N. Chapman Road. From here you can walk the paved path down the hill and over the bridge, just past the lake area are entrances to hiking trails. I take the first trail on my right, called the Habitat Trail, and from there you have plenty of options.
The trails range from single person wide to three people wide, depending on the trail. My toddler’s favorite hike is to take the trails that lead to the creek beds. From the Habitat Trail I turn left onto Swamp Trail which leads to the water. Once at the creek beds we spend half an hour or so throwing rocks into the creek and trying to learn how to skip rocks. I always have to drag my kids away from the creek bed to continue hiking.
There are several different locations where the trail intersects with the creek or small streams that you can rock hop on and explore. Depending on the time of year and the amount of rainfall these ideal spots will change up. I love exploring with my two and seeing which spot is the best spot each time.
Recommendations For Hiking with Toddlers At Peace Valley
Both my toddlers (19 months and 3-year-old) are able to fully hike this on their own. Once in a while they are tired and I might have to carry them on the way back. We commonly go hiking for around 2 hours and stop for a 20-minute snack break taking the Habitat Trail to the Swamp Trail and looping back. You could be out for longer as there are plenty of trails, but I find 2 hours is a good length for the kiddos if I want them to walk most, if not all of it.
High Rocks / Ralph Stover Park
High Rocks / Ralph Stover Park has a more dramatic landscape and it is famous for rock climbers. The cliff is made from red Brunswick shale and was formed in ancient times. The park has 100 climbing options, but isn’t only used for rock climbers. The park offers extensive hiking trails, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and camping options. The trails are marked with different color blazes on the trees that my 3-year-old has a great time spotting.
I park off of Tory Road at High Rock Vista Parking area. Fences are found along the cliff edges making it safer for little ones to be around the yellow trail. At the cliff edge there are views down to the Tohickon Creek which makes its way to the Delaware River. This view is stunning during fall foliage and spring blossom.
My three-year-old can hike on his own with some spots needing a hand up or down. My 19-month-old can also hike but more commonly needs assistance at different spots, especially the trail leading along the cliff edge.
Recommendations For Hiking with Toddlers at Ralph Stover
I plan 3 or 4 hours for this spot and expect a combination of carrying my toddlers as well as letting them hike themselves. There are a couple different spots to stop for snacks that provide a log for the family to sit on. The picture below is located at the turning point of the hiking trail that followed the cliff trail (yellow trail into the orange trail). My toddlers can normally hike the whole way to this point.
Once at the point mentioned above you can take a short cut down to get to the creek or you can continue hiking. My boys and dog like to go down to the creek and throw a couple stones in before continuing.
This spot holds a special spot in my heart, when both my boys were born this was the first hike we would take them on as infants, I even have my favorite breastfeeding rock! I also have been able to hike these trails and marvel at the views throughout my whole pregnancy.
Dogs are allowed here.
Nockamixon State Park Trails
Nockamixon State Park offers a great network of trails. This park is known for hiking, camping, fishing, boating, mountain biking and hunting. The park has different sections and is over 5,000 acres with Lake Nockamixon in the center.
The hiking trails I commonly use are north of the lake and off Karagon Road. This parking area offers only a handful of spots, but I have never seen it fully occupied. From this parking spot you can easily see the Quarry Trail that you can either take left or right. I commonly start right (south) and follow the trail. This trail leads you through the woods, to nice lake views and past a nice private picnic bench that is perfect for snack time.
Recommendations For Hiking with Toddlers at Nockamixon Park
For a shorter easier hike, you can park at the Fishing Pier. From here you can take a paved path to the Nockamixon State Park Waterfall. From the waterfall you have an option to turn around and go back (½ mile walk) or head onto a trail. One trail goes over the creek via a rock wall and gives you the feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere. Another option is to head right after the waterfall to the Old Mill Trail, a loop that will end back at the waterfall. This trail goes through the woods and then around a nice field. At the far end of the field is a picnic bench perfect for a snack break.
I plan 3 hours for the Quarry Trail and 1.5 hour-2 hours for the Old Mill Trail taking into consideration snack breaks.
Dogs are allowed to join.
Point Pleasant to Lumberville
Bucks County is known for its canal path along the Delaware River. I have fond memories of cycling this path as young as a kid. The possibilities of where you want to go on the Canal path are endless, but I do have a favorite hiking section to take my kids, dog and husband on.
You will find a parking lot in Point Pleasant called Point Pleasant Community Park. There are only a handful of spots, but I have never had issues. Once you park your car you will have to walk south towards Point Pleasant, passed the car bridge and take your first left hand turn. This will lead you to a foot bridge over the canal and the tow path, which starts the hike.
From the car park it is only a 5-minute walk.
The hike is completely flat and only a little over a mile, so both my toddlers are capable of walking. As you near Lumberville you will get a great view of the pedestrian bridge from PA to NJ. The bridge is worth the walk across as you enter Lumberville.
Lumberville is a small town that has a great general store. The Lumberville General Store is across from the Black Bass (under the same management) and a perfect spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch. The establishment has a great outdoor seating option year long with fire pits and heat lamps. Dogs are welcome outside; inside the general store you can find free dog biscuits.
Recommendations For Hiking with Toddlers to Lumberville
I love to take the family on this hike and stop for a meal before heading back on a bright blue-sky day. We almost always sit outside with our dog and we’ve never been disappointed. Length of trip will be determined on how long you stay at the store and enjoy!
The Black Bass Hotel & Restaurant along the river would be a great date night spot for when you leave the kids at home!