A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices

Hiking the Highlands

Tips for Hiking with Kids

Susanna Campbell, age 4, gives the trail blaze a high-five during a hike with her mother and sister at Hungry Mother State Park. Photo by Paige Campbell

Susanna Campbell, age 4, gives the trail blaze a high-five during a hike with her mother and sister at Hungry Mother State Park. Photo by Paige Campbell

• Hiking is a great way to tap into children’s instinctive curiosity, as long as you’re prepared to slow your pace and stop to explore whatever catches their attention.

• Let kids carry their own small packs. Having their own water bottle, snack and camera gets them engaged.

• Prepare everyone for the fact that there are no bathrooms on the trail. You can bring baby wipes and pack a baggie for the used ones.

• Even some preschoolers can be carried comfortably in a soft-structured baby carrier. The ease of getting a child in and out of these carriers allows them to walk when they’re up for it and quickly climb aboard when they need a lift.

• Snacks are essential, not just for nourishment but also for a good reason to stop and recharge. Look for landmarks — say, the big fallen log around the next bend — and promise a snack break there. You can make good progress if you split your hike into manageable segments on a scale children can understand.

• Carry kid-friendly first-aid supplies and a change of clothes. Keeping everyone physically comfortable is key to an enjoyable outing.

Like this content? Sign up for our Voice emails