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How to Hike with Your Kids

If kids don't have a good time when they go hiking, they probably won't want to go again. Here are some tips for keeping everybody happy on the trail.


  • Step 1: Modify your hiking plans Keep your hiking plans reasonable. Plan a close destination and a less demanding environment than if you were hiking without kids. Avoid extreme weather.
  • TIP: Be prepared to change your plans during the hike. Experiences that might be tolerable to you, like bad weather or dense mosquitoes, quickly become deal-breakers for kids
  • Step 2: Take into account special needs of infants Dress infants extra warmly in cold weather. Because you will be carrying them, they won't generate body heat through physical exertion. In hot weather, be sure to keep them cool.
  • Step 3: Keep children hydrated and well nourished Make sure children are kept well-hydrated and eat regularly.
  • Step 4: Watch for sunburn, overheating, and hypothermia Be alert for signs of sunburn, overheating, rashes, and hypothermia. Don't forget to protect kids with sunblock.
  • TIP: Pack an extra set of dry clothes for your kids in case they get wet.
  • Step 5: Keep the kids away from dangerous areas Exercise good sense when hiking with kids. Keep them away from potentially dangerous terrain, such as rocky riverbanks and cliffs.
  • Step 6: Make sure the kids have proper footwear Make sure the kids have proper footwear. Remember that their feet are growing rapidly, and a pair of shoes that fit on the last hike may already be too small on this one.
  • Step 7: Have an emergency plan Have a plan for the entire family in case any one gets lost. Equip the kids with fanny packs that include a jacket, snack, drink, and emergency whistle.
  • FACT: The U.S. Surgeon General's Office has recommended that families plan activities that provide everyone with exercise and enjoyment.

You Will Need

  • A hiking plan
  • Infant accommodations
  • Drinks
  • Food
  • Sunblock
  • Well-fitting footwear
  • An emergency plan
  • A fanny pack
  • A jacket
  • An emergency whistle
  • Extra clothing (optional)

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