Visitor Guides

Families

Great day trip

Planning a visit? Join as a Member today. 
Family Membership includes two adults and any children or grandchildren under 18. You'll receive free admission for the whole family any day you visit.

Tips for your day trip:

  • Outfit the kids with daypack filled with lunch and bottled water
  • Bring a pair of binoculars to pass around
  • Settle in and eat lunch at the lookout or boulder field while you watch for wildlife
  • If spring or autumn, plan to take in a free weekend program, especially Raptors Up Close or Birding with Binoculars.
  • Trails are rocky, so bring the big kids or plan to help or carry little ones
  • The closest overlook is an easy, smooth walk with several rocky overlooks nearby
  • Kids love scrambling over the boulders, so plan to let them spend time at each one
  • Walk through the Native Plant Garden (enter through gate) and try to spot frogs, newts and a turtle in the pond

Day Trip Idea: Hike to North Lookout (Weekday)

Hike to the North Lookout on a Weekday

  • Pack a lunch and let everyone carry his or her own day pack
  • Stop in the Visitor Center to pay trail fee or purchase membership. Or, buy a membership now and simply show your card
  • Walk through the education exhibits on birds of prey
  • Examine the 3D trail map and check your route
  • Grab a trail map and head outside
  • Stop in the Native Plant Garden (fenced area next to Visitor Center-enter at Gate)
  • See how many frogs and newts the kids can find--any turtles?
  • Continue on and pass through the trail entrance Gate
  • Stop and enjoy the view at South Lookout
  • Continue on the Lookout Trail, stopping at the lookouts you pass along the way
  • North Lookout is 3/4 mile walk
  • Relax on the rocks, have lunch, and watch for wildlife
  • Let the kids crawl around the boulders and then head back to the Visitor Center
  • If you didn't do so already, you may turn in your tickets before you leave toward the cost of a Family Membership
  • Estimated time: 2 to 4 hours

Day Trip Idea: Hike to the Boulder Field

  • Pack a lunch and let everyone carry his or her own day pack
  • Stop in the Visitor Center to pay trail fee or purchase membership.
  • Consider buying a membership now, then simply show your card
  • Walk through the education exhibits on birds of prey
  • Examine the 3D trail map and check your route
  • Grab a trail map and head outside
  • Stop in the Native Plant Garden (fenced area next to Visitor Center-enter at Gate)
  • See how many frogs and newts the kids can find--any turtles?
  • Continue on to the trail and show your tickets or membership card to the volunteer
  • Spend some time enjoying the view at South Lookout
  • When you leave, take the River of Rocks Trail to your right, leading down to the valley
  • Follow to the Boulder Field, and relax on the rocks
  • Have lunch on the rocks and watch for wildlife.
  • Let the kids spend time scrambling the boulders
  • Don't try the entire River of Rocks Loop Trail. It's one of the most challenging and only suitable for very experienced hikers.
  • When you're ready, head back to the Visitor Center the same way you came.
  • If you didn't do so already, you may turn in your tickets before you leave toward the cost of a Family Membership
  • Estimated time: 2 to 3 hours

Day Trip Idea: Spring Weekend Visit

  • Check the Calendar of Events and consider a visit on Earth Day, Migratory Bird Day or during another special event that includes extra kids activities.
  • Pack a lunch and let everyone carry his or her own day pack
  • Arrive around 10 am and walk through the education exhibits on birds of prey
  • Examine the 3D trail map and check your route
  • Grab a trail map and head outside. Turn left just outside and head to the Amphitheater for Raptors Up Close program
  • Following the program, continue past the Visitor Center and on to the trail
  • Stop and enjoy the view at South Lookout, the first, nearby overlook
  • Continue on the Lookout Trail, stopping at the lookouts you pass along the way
  • North Lookout is 3/4 mile walk
  • Relax on the rocks, have lunch, and watch for wildlife
  • Let the kids crawl around the boulders and then head back to the Visitor Center
  • If you didn't do so already, you may turn in your tickets before you leave toward the cost of a Family Membership
  • Estimated time: 3 to 4 hours
DCNR