Hiking Deer Mountain with Toddlers
We just got back from another wonderful family vacation in Rocky Mountain National Park. The first day we decided to hike up Deer Mountain which is one of our favorite hikes because of the amazing views. Unfortunately, this time the views were pretty hazy from forest fires in nearby Grand Lake, Colorado.
The mountain hike was still beautiful with wildflowers in full bloom. I’m trying to learn more about the different species we see on the trails. Here is a link to some of the most common flowers in Rocky Mountain National Park.
According to Rockymountaintrails.com, this hike starts at 8,940 ft in elevation at the Deer Ridge Junction. It’s 6.2 miles round trip and gains 1,210 ft of elevation.
For us, that’s a pretty tough hike with the kids in their carriers. Our girls are 3 and 1 years old, so longer hikes are a great way to help them grow in patience. I’m really proud of them! It is fun for me to look back on times we’ve hiked this before. Check out past posts:
Horseback Riding Deer Mountain
Later in the week I got a fresh perspective of Deer Mountain by taking a 2 hour horseback riding tour with National Park Gateway Stables.
The ride ‘follows the Fall River to the base of Deer Mountain and Aspen Glen area into Lil Horseshoe Park and Hidden Meadows.’ You can learn more about the tours on their website. They even have pony rides for ages 2-7.
There isn’t a parking lot, ranger station or toilet available near Deer Ridge Junction, so plan ahead if you can. On trips we keep a potty like this one in our car for our 3-year-old.
We pack snacks, drinks, sing songs and play games to keep the girls entertained during longer hikes. Games include ‘tortoise and the hare’ where we take turns who is in the lead and who is going slow paying attention to details (or getting distracted by wildflowers). We also play ‘bear’ where one parent goes ahead with a child and hides behind a tree or rock to jump out and surprise the other parent and sibling.