Bouldering with kids: Mill Creek and Avenue of the Boulders OR

When I say ‘bouldering’ I don’t exactly mean the sport catching on among the outdoorsy type from Colorado to New Mexico. I mean ‘clambering’ or maybe ‘scrambling’, as we really weren’t climbing high enough to need mats or helmets. However, I have learned that if you tell kids they’re going bouldering, they hike much faster! Any way I can add some excitement to a nature walk or hike, I do so! Tip: another great way to get kids to enjoy the outdoors is geo-caching.

Mill Creek Oregon

Bouldering with kids is easy in Southern Oregon, where many volcanic rock formations await. Tobias (age 8) spent the day bouldering and hiking with his grandpa in Prospect, Oregon, which is located on Highway 62 en route to Crater Lake National Park. This part of the drive to the lake is a great place to stop and stretch legs with a moderate hiking/climbing experience.

Mill Creek Falls and Avenue of the Boulders

These falls are a short hike from the parking lot, but from the falls you can hike further to the Avenue of Boulders at the base. This veritable ‘city’ of boulders fall in a neat row, then in a group, looking like a skyline from afar. Between the boulders are  calm pools of water, sandy beaches, and lots of opportunities to climb around, up, and over. If you plan to do serious bouldering here, definitely bring mats and helmets, but kids can get pretty adventurous and still be safely close to the ground.

bouldering with kids

Natural Bridge

Next, head over to Union Creek, Oregon, just up the road along Highway 62. This area offers a trailhead at Natural Bridge Trail to a series of lava tubes that wind under and through the often fast-flowing Rogue River. Not only are the tubes beautiful, but they’re fascinating for kids. Challenge kids to find hollow lava rocks and see if they’ll float in the calmer water at the end of the hike. Families can take a 2.4 mile loop, or just walk across two bridges to observe the lava tubes and the rapids. There’s a primitive campground adjacent, and bathrooms with pit toilets. In the summer months, you’ll want to picnic. Tip: grab a piece of pie or a berry smoothie after your hike at Beckie’s, world famous for their food (or at least world famous in Southern Oregon!).

Travel Gear We Use: Stonz Wear Rain Bootz and Linerz:
new-masthead.logo.042513Stonz is a children’s outerwear and boot company homegrown in Vancouver, BC. Our Pit Stops’ kids wore Stonz rain boots on our Mill Creek adventure. Stonz rain boots are made of natural rubber, and parents can buy them with optional soft, fuzzy liners that kids love. They slide on easily, but stay put while exploring creeks, muddy river banks, and other outdoor destinations. Best of all, they can be sprayed down with water after you get home, and the liners are machine washable. Buy Stonz Rain Bootz on Amazon or Zapposor find more Travel Gear We Use.


Directions: Once on Highway 62 (grab this from I-5 in Medford, Oregon), follow marked signs to all the above destinations.

Also nearby: Take a hike along the Upper Rogue River.

The above post was written in partnership with Photo credit:

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.




  1. This looks like a beautiful place for a day trip with the kids. What a beautiful place! On day, we’ll make it there, with or without the kids.

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