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We are a hiking family. We absolutely love getting outside when the weather is nice and hiking the mountain trails. I think living on the edge of a mountain has conditioned my kids to love it. It has just become a big part of our lives. Today I want to share with you some tips for hiking with kids. Because, let’s face it, kids are not the easiest to have on a hike sometimes! Hopefully this will help you as you plan your next hiking trip with your kids.
Tips for Hiking With Kids
- Bring plenty of water! It is always important to stay hydrated when hiking, especially when it is warm! We have had a few hikes where we ran out of water and the kids were miserable! Bring water for everyone. (And, you will likely end up carrying all of it.) 😉
- Bring plenty of snacks. Even if you think it will just be a short hike, bring snacks. Hiking works up an appetite in all of us. And, it keeps kids happier.
- Be ok with going slower than you would like to. Let your little ones set the pace. My big kids usually end up running way ahead and I walk behind with the youngest.
- Let your kids help plan the hike. If they are involved in choosing the location they will be more excited about it! Also, show them a map of where you will be going to help them understand the area and the distance you are walking.
- Dress in layers. We went on a hike this week and it was quite warm in the valley, but as we got higher we discovered the last half of the trail was covered in snow! We had sweatshirts only, but we were glad for them!! So, dress in layers that can be easily removed when you work up a sweat or replaced if it is colder at a higher elevation.
- Get kids started hiking while they are young. If your little ones are used to doing, it, they will have an easier time of it. They will build up endurance and be capable of longer and harder hikes.
- Make the hike enjoyable! Enjoy the scenery. Give them things to look for, (a nature scavenger hunt) or add in some geocaching.
- Bring a first aid kit. You never know when somebody will slip on some rocks and skin a knee. It happens more often than you think it will. So, at the very least, have a couple of band-aids. Oh & bring sunscreen, too! Nobody wants to end their hike with a sunburn.
- Choose a destination that has a reward at the end, such as a waterfall or an amazing overlook. This will motivate kids to push on to the end, even when it is difficult.
- If you have small ones, use a back pack carrier. They are a life saver! My 3-year-old even still rides in it if the hikes are more difficult. If I do not bring it, I am usually carrying her anyways, so this makes life easier.
- One last thing that my kids love. . . let your kids bring a hiking stick. They are fun and helpful on the inclines! (My only condition is that they have to carry them on their own!)
A parting thought that I think is really important for all hikers.
Leave No Trace.
When you hike, do not leave any trash or other objects behind. Teach this important rule to your kids so they learn to respect nature and the beauty of it. Carry out all the things you brought in with you, including your water bottles!
Have fun hiking & don’t forget to stay hydrated!