[section_title title=Cloudland Canyon’s Best Family Hikes]
West Rim Loop Trail is marked by yellow trail blazes and a yellow dashed line on the Cloudland Canyon SP Trail Map. I am not sure I would have discovered this trail had I not arrived so late in the day. I’m very happy to say this trail provided my family with the most fun adventure during our stay.
We hopped on this trail two different times. Unfortunately, I seem to have an aversion to finishing things and we never actually completed the circuit. We arrived in late afternoon to unpack into one of the park’s fun yurts. After chowing down and decompressing from our drive, we took a look at the map to choose a sunset view. We decided to hike a portion of the West Rim Loop Trail and parked at a lot near the northwestern edge of the park.
Even though some of the views were blocked by power lines and poles, it was a short and quiet hike to reach an incredible overlook area where we watched the sunset.
Our second experience on this trail provided the adventure that really sets this trail apart from the other popular trails: Sitton’s Gulch, Overlook Trail & Waterfalls Trail. We set off, heading north on the West Rim Trail, right from our campsite. The park literature makes the claim that this is one of the most scenic trails in the nation and I can understand why. Heading north from the campground, we stumbled upon an exciting rocky area where the boys explored huge boulders to find lizards and study other small creatures.
Heading south, from West Rim campground, we hiked the natural surface West Rim trail all the way to a bridge that crosses the creek and connects visitors to Waterfalls & Sitton’s Gulch trails. Here we rested and played on the banks of the picturesque creek. This fun, interesting, scenic and adventurous trail is my recommendation for experiencing Cloudland Canyon in the best possible way.
Here’s why… Our family places great value on the natural surface trails and finds taking the stairs is just not for us. Our exploration time was also limited and taking a shorter route is beneficial in that it saves some time and allows us to explore other areas. The Waterfalls Trail is another option for a shorter hike, but it isn’t nearly as fun or interesting as West Rim Trail.
We’ve hiked them all! The stairs of Sitton’s Gulch Trail & the shorter Waterfalls Trail do offer a different sort of experience. If you’re just trying to view the waterfalls or if you feel you’d be more comfortable along a more traveled path, but still want to save on time I suggest the Waterfalls Trail. If you have plenty of time on your hands and want a longer or more strenuous hike, then taking Sitton’s Gulch Trail is the perfect option for you.
One other trail that we were able to spend some time hiking was the Overlook Trail. Beginning at the East Rim interpretive center, take a short walk to a large overlook area that gives visitors a breathtaking view! We followed the Overlook trail along the edge of the parking lot and a short distance through the woods until we came to smaller overlook that offered another grand view. We hiked only a little further before turning back to hunt down some supper! Find out where we found some great burgers and more family fun at Cloudland Canyon.
What you’ll find along the Waterfalls Trail, which you can reach via the West Rim Loop or Sitton’s Gulch.