Early Spring Hikes in Central Oregon that are Stroller Friendly

Early Spring Hikes in Central Oregon that are stroller friendly

Juniper Trail Hiking at Cline Butte. Stroller Friendly.

Juniper Trail Hiking at Cline Butte. Stroller Friendly.

Our family loves hiking all year round and usually by early spring we are itching to get out of the house and on the trail. Our oldest kids (9,7 and 6) are great hikers, our youngest is almost 2 and is a big kid. We can put him in our Osprey Pack but generally he’s pretty heavy and we like to stroller him when possible. This also gives him a chance to hike and explore as well as ride in the stroller and keep up with everyone. So here are some great local early spring hikes to take your kids on.

Our favorite so far has been the Cline Buttes area and specifically Juniper Trailhead. These are all part of the Maston Trail System and have a series of trails that are for mountain biking or hiking, even some horseback riding. But if you park at Juniper Trailhead there is the most luxurious wide gravel trail that is very stroller and kid friendly. The juniper and sage were vibrant green and the kids loved exploring through the desert. This trail will quickly get too hot for midday hikes with kids so take advantage during the rainy season. There are no restrooms at the Juniper Trailhead.

Hiking Badlands Trail Loop with kids. Bend Oregon.

Hiking Badlands Trail Loop with kids. Bend Oregon.

We also love the Badlands Trail System east of Bend. This is a little less stroller friendly as its more sandy but its fantastic spring hiking for kids and dogs and if you have a stroller with big wheels its very doable. We packed our youngest during this hike and let him hike the way back but our jogger would have been fine on the packed sand.  As it warms up the sand will break up and be harder to push a stroller so get out there before it gets too hot! This trail system has easy parking, close to Bend and great desert scenery for kids to explore.

Lava Lands South of Bend is also a great trail as it is paved for miles. The actual name of it is the Sun Lava Trail. The Lava Lands visitor center does not open till late May but the road to Benham falls is open. You can park at Benham falls and there are miles of paved paths south toward Sunriver or East back toward Lava Lands. This is a great option for those who have kids on striders or scooters as well!

Sun Lava Trail, great for kids on wheels and strollers

Sun Lava Trail, great for kids on wheels and strollers

Cascade Lakes Visitor Center is another great paved option for the slightly older kids with scooters or striders as well as strollers. Park at the Cascade Lakes visitor center and head down the miles of paved trails on wheels or by foot. This system winds through the pine trees for some lovely early spring forest walks. Be sure to stop in at the Cascade Lakes Visitor Center, they have great local books and goodies as well as information on the area. There are restrooms at this parking lot.

The upper ridge of Shevlin Park is always a classic, as well as the paved road through Shevlin. Both are kid and stroller friendly. The park is still winter dormant but it won’t take long and it will be lush and green. Park in the upper parking lot of Shevlin for a paved and gravel trail that is stroller friendly with great views of the mountains.

Old Mill Paved Loop System

Old Mill Paved Loop System

There is of course the Old Mill loops that are paved and great for a quick mile loop with a stroller or kid on wheels. We do this walk no less than once a week; it is our favorite. But remember the wind off the river can be chilly, even in town. It also gets very busy on summer days so taking advantage of the pre-busy season is a great way to get in the scenery!

 

The next few weeks things will be blooming and turning green. Check back for great spring hikes with kids to see some wildflowers!