EnglishFrançaisEspañol

Photo Gallery

Get Your Kids Hiking

Get Your Kids Hiking

Published: 04/15/2014 by Jeff Alt

» Learning Resources
»» Science
»»» Nature

Want your kids to enjoy hiking and the great outdoors? “Make it fun”, says Jeff Alt, an avid hiker. In addition to walking the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail, he aslo walked 218-mile John Muir Trail with his wife, and trekked across a 50-mile path of Ireland with his wife, young daughter, and extended family. Alt has lots of great tips on how to make sure you and the kids have a great time outdoors. 
 

Start’em Young 
Ergonomically designed baby carriers make it easy to carry your infant and toddler wherever you hike. Walk to your favorite park or beach. Bring a friend. Stop often and let your little one explore. Make your hike a routine your kids will look forward to. 
 

Count Down 

Psych the kids up with pictures, videos, and highlights of the places they will go and the things they will see. Use books, magazines, maps, and the Internet, especially park websites, and videos that show the spectacular wildlife. 



Pack the Essentials 

Footwear: Until your kids are walking consistently on their own, fit them with a comfortable pair of water resistant shoes. Make sure the older kids are wearing lightweight trail shoes or boots with a sturdy sole. Wear non-cotton, moisture wicking, synthetic or wool socks. 

Clothing: Dress for the weather. Wear non-cotton synthetic, wool and fleece clothes. Wear multi-purpose clothes like pants that zip off into shorts or shirts with role up sleeves. Pack a waterproof, breathable rain parka and a hat with a wide brim for sun protection. 

Packs: Get age and size appropriate backpacks that fit each hiker comfortably. 

Clean Water: Get a hydration hose system for your pack or use bottles. Disinfect wild water using portable treatment water systems such as a UV wand or micro-straining filter. 

Communication: Bring a smartphone to take lots of pictures. Carry a GPS to keep you located on the trail. 

Other: Sunblock and bug repellent containing Deet. Also bring a first aid kit that accommodates the whole group. 

 

 

Trailblazing 

Follow the leader! Hike at your child’s pace and distance. Whatever your child takes interest in, stop and explore that bug, leaf or rock with them. Getting to the destination is less important than making sure your kids have so much fun; they will want to go again and again. 

 

 

Along the way 

Many tails have bulletin boards to alert hikers to possible wildlife dangers or path accessibility, be sure to check them out before starting. 

Take advantage of park activities and 

guided nature experience. Create your own scavenger hunt in search of animals, plants and views. 

Make up rhymes and sing songs as you walk (added bonus of alerting wildlife to your whereabouts). 

 

Resources 

Trails 

http://hikealberta.com 

www.albertaparks.ca/kananaskiscountry/information-facilities/trails. aspx 

Trail Reports: 

www.albertaparks.ca/albertaparksca/advisories-public-safety.aspx 

Packing Checklist: 

www.mec.ca/AST/ContentPrimary/ Learn/HikingAndCamping/TripChecklists/BackpackingChecklist. jsp 

Wildlife Safety: 

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/ explore/wild_gen.html 

Activities, Maps and More: 

http://www.albertaparks.ca/albertaparksca/education-interpretation. aspx