Panorama Point. Credit: Jennifer Johnson
5. Panorama Point at Mount Rainier
The prize: Wildflowers and views right from the car, summer snow patches and a hobbit-like outhouse.
The hike: When parents want glorious views and flowers, but aren’t sure how long the kids will hike, the trail from Paradise to Panorama Point delivers something for everyone. If you can encourage or bribe youngsters to climb the steep paved paths in the first mile, the grade gets easier after that. You’ll find blossoms of every color in July and August, jaw-dropping views of Mount Rainier and Nisqually Glacier, and snow patches that can persist through the summer. Clear days allow views to three other volcanoes. Panorama Point makes a good snack stop and turnaround point, and parents will appreciate the stone privy, with its rounded-arched door, composting toilet, toilet paper and skylight.
Details: 5 miles round trip, 1,300 feet elevation gain. Admission to the national park required.