Ever since we had kids, we always looked for places to get outdoors with them. Hiking with kids can be a challenge, but there are lots of neat places to check out as a family. These can be enjoyed as a short hike, or simply exploring at your child’s pace, whether or not you complete a trail.
Literally the first hike I went on with the jogging stroller!
After that, we took the kids lots of places to explore.
Here are some places we liked to visit with our kids when they were toddlers:
Albany Pine Bush, Albany, NY – This is a good place to go with toddlers, because there is a nature center with bathrooms. Lots of short, flat trails, but be careful about ticks! Start teaching kids early to stay on the trail – you’ll have less worries about things like ticks and poison ivy.
Ann Lee Pond & Historic Site, Albany, NY – This is a nice place to check out with toddlers and see pond wildlife. You can take a short walk out on the boardwalk that crosses the pond, and you do not have to do the entire trail.
Ashford Glen Preserve, Schenectady, NY – very short walk in and out of the woods (no loop, less than one mile).
Bauer Environmental Park, Colonie, NY – less than 1 mile loop, all boardwalk.
Bozen Kill Preserve, Altamont, NY – This short hike with two trails, so you can choose the length of the hike. To get to the creek, it is .58 of a mile in. There is another trail that goes further, but if you stick with the short trail, it would be just over a mile, plus you can explore the creek.
Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, Delmar, NY – Awesome place for kids of all ages! Several hikes to choose from, from 1/4 mile ADA compliant trails to 2 mile trails. They really have the easiest, shortest trails! This is also a great option because you can go when the nature center is open, and use the facilities as well.
Fox Preserve, Latham, NY (Town of Colonie) – short, easy loop hike, approximately 1 mile, although not much to see.
Great Flats Nature Trail, Schenectady, NY – this is a very flat trail, and the scenery changes between boardwalks and wooded areas, and it is a nice area for a leisurely hike.
Hollyhock Hollow Sanctuary, Selkirk, NY (Capital Region) – While there is a 1.9 mile trail loop, you could simply walk from the parking lot down to the creek, which takes only a minute.
Landis Arboretum, Esperance, NY (Capital Region) – Nice area to walk around with a couple of sculptures. Kids may not be impressed with the plants, but it is also a nice place to picnic, and there are some neat sculptures.
Pine Hollow Arboretum, Slingerlands, NY – There are so many short trails and loops here, it is easy to explore without committing to any long hikes.
Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga, NY (Capital Region) – Great place for kids to explore, from the trails to the springs, play areas, picnic areas and more.
Swift Wetland, Delmar, NY – About 1 mile of flat trail, with boardwalks in mud-prone areas. Very close to Phillipin Kill (.5 mi) and Touhey Family Preserve (1 mi).
Tawasentha Park, Guilderland, NY – Lots of wide open spaces and some easy trails to explore. Plus, you can check out the Normanskill River, playgrounds, and a pool. *Note: you have to pay to enter the park if you are not a resident.
Thacher Park Hiking Trails, Voorheesville, NY (Capital Region) – lots of options for flat, short walks. There is also the Indian Ladder Trail here, but there are steep drop offs, so you would want to be extremely careful with toddlers.
Touhey Family Preserve, Delmar, NY (Capital Region) – 1 mile hike, flat, easy terrain.
Vosburgh Trails, Guilderland, NY (Capital Region) – Short, easy hike, including an easy loop around a field.
Wolf Creek Falls Preserve, Altamont/Knox, NY (Capital Region) – Nice area to explore, with some streams where you can flip rocks. The trails meander to make longer hikes, but you could opt for a short portion.
Click here for some of my tips for taking toddlers on the trail.