After five days in a row with everyone home, by Saturday we are ready to escape! And with no other commitments, we now have the flexibility to take a little more time and hit up some hiking spots we normally wouldn’t be able to visit.
Here are my Top 5 Family Hiking Spots near Fargo (within 2 hours).
Top 5 Regional Hiking Trails
Location: 80 miles from Fargo, just south of Valley City
This gets my number one spot because not only did I have no idea it even existed – there are waterfalls in the hiking trails! Well… my kids thought they were waterfalls. And it blew their minds!
A small creek rushes through the trails and it is like nothing typically seen around here. Down gentle sloping hills, the creek rushes over boulders and logs creating “mini-waterfalls.” Hundreds of them. The sound of the flowing water and the green moss on the rocks made me feel like I was transported to the West Coast.
The hiking trails were fairly challenging. Our nine and six year olds love the challenge… climbing over logs and jumping across boulders to get over the stream. Our four-year-old needed a little help, but his adventurous spirit really shone and we were happy to help him navigate.
Bring a change of clothes (and maybe even shoes) as the streams are shallow enough to wade through and likely a kid will try to jump across and end up short.
Location: 15 miles east of Fargo on Hwy 10
You can’t beat the closeness of this hiking spot near Fargo. In less than 20 minutes you will be on the trails. Paths are easy to walk and many routes are short loops for little ones who tire easily or for mom who ends up having to carry someone. It also is home to a man-made swimming pond complete with a sand beach and shower facilities!
Location: 65 miles southwest of Fargo between Kindred and Lisbon
This is a true hidden gem of our area that is so close to home, yet unknown to many. The hiking trails are easily walkable, many are even graveled. Our four-year-old conquered it no problem. If you have a jogging stroller, it will easily handle the terrain.
The landscape looks like you aren’t in eastern ND anymore; it’s filled with trees and rolling hills left over from the moving glacier thousands of years ago. Sheyenne National Grasslands is the home to ND’s ONLY registered waterfall! It’s no Niagra Falls, but still cool to see. The river also has put-ins for canoes and kayaks.
Come prepared because nearby services are null… gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants are many miles away.
Location: 55 miles East of Fargo via I-94 E and MN-108
Maplewood is a great hiking spot to bring the bikes. Many of the hiking trails are wide and easy to navigate for young riders. The park is home to eight major lakes including Lake Lida, which has a sandy beach for swimming! When your baby needs a quick nap, find one of many scenic loops to drive. You’ll also pass through Pelican Rapids and be able to view the World’s Largest Pelican statue up close.
Location: 95 miles northwest of Fargo (20 Miles west of Grand Forks on Hwy 2)
It’s like a Minnesota forest snuck into North Dakota. There are hills and valleys and so many trees to walk through. If you like to fish, cast a line off one of the bridges or well-worn sandy shorelines along the Turtle River. It’s a perfect spot to teach a little one how to watch a bobber.
Our kids loved the small man-made dam and all the rushing water. Of course they threw in tons of sticks and watched them float over the “falls.” A pit stop at the Dairy Queen in Emerado, ND on he drive home is a nice way to end the day.
Before you hit the road
Check each website above, as bathrooms and other facilities may be closed. Make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, toilet paper, and teach your kids how to make a pit stop in the woods.
Also, take a look at the driving route to get to your destination. Many of these drives have landmarks, historical sites, or other points of interest you can stop at for learning or fun.
Think of nature is one of our greatest teachers. Call it a field trip, pack up the minivan, and head out for an adventure on one of the hiking spots near Fargo.