Making Hiking Fun

Summer is the best season to hit the trails. Why not include the entire family in the fun? If your kids are old enough to walk, they can handle a white circle outing with the clan.

How can you ensure that everyone has a good time and stays safe? Here are 10 tips to make hiking fun for the whole family.

1. Choose the Right Venue
Hiking with the family means taking everyone. Are you one of the many clans embracing multigenerational living? Regular exercise can help older family members maintain their physical abilities and mental sharpness, but you want them to enjoy their trip.

Fortunately, many parks and nature areas feature smooth, even paved trails. Plan on these so family members who use mobility devices can still reap the benefits of fitness in the great outdoors.

2. Select the Right Difficulty
You should probably stay on well-marked trails — young children can panic if you get lost. Fortunately, most park systems give clues about your hike’s difficulty. They start with white circles for the easiest trails, going all the way to double black diamonds that include loose rocks, narrow bridges and imposing obstacles.

Assess your least-seasoned family member’s fitness level and hiking expertise and cater to their ability. That way, no one falls behind or risks pushing themselves beyond their limits.

3. Dress Comfortably
A sturdy pair of hiking boots is a must. These protect your ankles from overturning and also keep sharp thorns and possibly snake fangs at bay.

Otherwise, dress in comfortable layers so you can shed clothing as you get warm. A floppy hat with sun protection in the back prevents UV rays from damaging your eyes and burning the back of your neck.

Making Hiking Fun

4. Whip up Some Trail Snacks
Hiking is hungry work. Keep your children’s bellies from growling by bringing the right mix of trail snacks. Do you want to make it even more special? Reserve certain favorite treats to enjoy only when sharing time in the great outdoors.

5. Bring an Identification Guide
Hiking means seeing animal life galore. Your kids may marvel at the many bird species they notice — can they identify them?

A field guide is indispensable for looking up unique plants and critters you encounter on your hike. You can go with an old-fashioned book or download one of today’s popular apps — although you might have to wait until you get a Wi-Fi signal to receive your identification answer if you choose the latter route.

6. Create a Scavenger Hunt
Make hiking more fun for your youngest family members by introducing an element of challenge. Why not invent a scavenger hunt that you can collectively complete as you walk? That way, you can keep the youngest family members near you but ensure everyone stays alert — who will be the first to spy a woodpecker or find a mushroom?

Making Hiking Fun

7. Carry Plenty of Water
Dehydration can ruin an otherwise lovely hike — and put your health at risk. Bring plenty of water for each family member. Most adults need about half a litre of water for each hour of hiking. However, your needs may vary depending on your body size, exertion level, and outside temperature and humidity.

8. Get Mindful for a Minute
Hiking offers the perfect opportunity to practice a mindfulness walk. Challenge your family members to pause and engage their five senses as they stroll. What are five things they can see? Four they can touch? Follow with three they can hear, two they can smell and one they can taste.

9. Learn to Identify Animal Tracks
Can your kiddos identify a fox’s tracks from a rabbit’s? They can if you teach them. Spend some time downloading free flashcards to help you when you encounter a print on the trail.

10. Plan a Relaxing Cooldown
After your hike, plan a mini celebration. Ice cream is always a refreshing treat if you have a few extra dollars. If your budget is a bit tight these days, why not whip up some homemade popsicles before you hit the trail? That way, you’ll have goodness awaiting you in your freezer at home.

Making Hiking Fun for Everyone
Hiking benefits people of all ages. You can enjoy fresh air and sunshine while exercising in the great outdoors. Make your excursion fun for the whole family with the above 10 tips. You and your clan can have a blast while bonding on the trail.

Blog Author: Jane Marsh