Hiking with kids can be fun and exciting! With a few tips and tricks, you’ll have the best time together.
We have hiked extensively with our three kids from the time they were infants. We have discovered a few tips and tricks along the way!
Tips for hiking with kids:
- Keeps things calm, fun, and relaxed.
- Turn it into a game, something your kids like to play. We talk about imaginary friends, rocks, and sticks, everything they normally love.
- Don’t have a destination in mind. Let the kids take their own pace and encourage them along by playing games or looking for fun things along the trail.
- Bring special snacks that you don’t normally buy. These become a great incentive during hard patches.
- Make sure your kids have the right gear. If they are uncomfortable or in pain, you’ll have a hard time motivating them to keep going.
- Practice short hikes first, then work your way up to longer ones. Practice before you go out on a trip.
Kids Hiking Gear
The most important thing you’ll want when hiking with kids is good shoes. You don’t have to buy fancy or nice hiking boots but you do need sturdy shoes or boots. Hiking shoes for kids should have good arch support and are ideally above the ankle.
Before you go on your hike, be sure to have your kids wear their shoes around to make sure they aren’t going to get any blisters or hot spots.
Make sure that you have sunscreen, even if it’s winter, if it’s going to be sunny on the hike. Also be sure to bring water, snacks, and special treats to keep motivation up.
Our kids occasionally like to use hiking poles, but these are definitely not a necessity. Avoid having your kids carry too much on the hikes until they are more experienced or unless they are older.
Favorite Hikes for Kids
Obviously, you’ll want to practice hikes in your area first, but if you’re looking for some recommendations in popular areas, here are some we’ve tried!
- Artist Paintpots Trail in Yellowstone National Park
- Observation Point Trail in Yellowstone National Park
- West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail in Yellowstone National Park
- Lower Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park
- Riverside Walk in Zion National Park
- Lower Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park
- Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park
- Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite National Park
- Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail in Teton National Park
- Hidden Falls Train in Teton National Park
- Leigh Lake Trail in Teton National Park
- Apgar Lookout in Glacier National Park
- Johns Lake Loop in Glacier National Park
- Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park