Visitor Guides

Families

Great day trip

Planning a visit? Join as a Member today. 
Family Membership costs just $40 for 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
Gillespie