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Usery Mountain: Pack a lunch and strap-in the kiddos!

Photo taken from
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Many folks new to parenthood often quickly discover the built-in challenges when it comes to continuing their favorite outdoor activities. Since most toddlers don’t jog in a straight path, and training wheels can’t climb mountains, newby parents are forced to get creative. Rather than giving in to temptations of munching on Cheetos and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse all day, getting some vitamin D and releasing those endorphins certainly helps with the stresses of parenthood while also giving kids a chance to get out their wiggles.

One viable option for exercise and outdoor exploration with little ones can be found at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa. This spot, in the northeast corner of town, includes trails wide enough to push a double jogging stroller for some mild trail running. The Merkle Trail, which leads hikers around the perimeter of Merkle Hills, boasts its share of dips through gulleys and washes, as well as incredible views and the potential for lessons for the kids about Arizona’s desert wildlife, plants and terrain.

This .9 mile hike includes several spots to sit and take a rest, so moms and dads should pack a lunch and plenty of water for the family. Parents and kids should be sure to wear sturdy tennis or hiking shoes, and slather on the sunscreen.

Check out this perfect day hike – you’re sure to feel refreshed afterward, and your kids will love being outdoors and learning about nature!