Go Hiking with the Kids!

Here are some tips to make hiking with the kids a little easier! 

My good friend Rachel is an avid hiker with her two little ones and wrote this guest post for us. Thanks Rachel!

There are many reasons to get outdoors with your kids. For example, there is scientific based research that shows spending time outdoors can help with your eyesight and seeing further distances and it can lower your blood pressure.

We have seen in just a few generations that how kids interact with nature has vastly changed due to laws and regulations and screen time.

How you get outside in nature will vary depending on the age of your children.

  • With your baby, you may use a stroller or baby carrier to explore a local trail.
  • When you hike with a toddler, focus on the journey and not the pace. Stop to check out interesting sticks, bugs and leaves along the way. Have the expectation that long distances won't be covered at a toddler's pace, but instead embrace the wonder of exploration with them.
  • With older kids, you can use tools to help you along the trail.
  • Find books at your local library about trees, birds and plants to help you identify what you are seeing in the forest.
  • Download a nature scavenger hunt from the internet or make your own.
  • If your kids are reluctant to hike at any age, start small and be flexible. Know that time outdoors will have many benefits along with hiking distance.
  • Start with a short distance, new moms and toddlers should start at 1-3 miles at most and pay attention to the terrain. Rocky terrain may be harder to navigate with a baby carrier and toddlers.


It's easy to get out on a trail with a baby in a carrier. I always recommend trying out different types of carriers at your local Babywearing International group or local boutique store that carries many different types of carriers that can't be found in a box store. These resources let you try them on and let you find a carrier that will have a comfortable fit.

For toddler aged kids and up, bring snacks to help encourage them along the way. Remember to leave no trace and pack out everything you brought in.

Get outdoors with a buddy. Find a friend or two to join you and your kids. Find a local branch of Hike it Baby near you to meet others who make outdoor time a priority.

Proper clothing and gear is key to hitting the trails with your children, for both caregivers and children. Water wicking wool as a base layer is important along with good gloves, hat and a scarf in the colder months. Sunscreen, hats, cool breathable clothing along with a water bottle are important during the summer season.
Proper shoes for the terrain are also important. If you are wearing a child, I find that study hiking boots help keep me confident with each step on the trail.

Here are some books to inspire you to get outdoors especially with your children:

  • Vitamin N by Richard Louv (gives ideas and activities to do with kids)
  • Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
  • Coyote Guide to the Connecting with the Outdoors by Jon Young
  • The Nature Fix by Florence Williams

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8 Comments
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Angelia C.
I have a 2 year old and I really wasn't sure about taking him hiking with me until I read this article and it help me realize I can make it fun for the both of us. It mentions pointing out the interesting insects or looking at the different leaves and such. I never thought of this before, now I'm excited about taking my little guy with me. Thanks
Rachel L.
Angelia, so glad to inspire you get outdoors with your 2 year old. I found at two years old, getting outdoors often helped my own son get through some of those hard and big developmental changes.
Angela L.
No kids here but I love hearing about families who take kids on adventures in nature like this, rather than letting them just zone in front of screens!
Amy G.
Great ideas!
Stefanie S.
I love going on family hikes. Always remember to bring lots of snacks and water!
Rachel L.
My trunk is always filled with toddler friendly snacks. :)
Sarah L.
We love to hike as family! we let the kids choose the direction and led the way. Even my 11 year old son asks to go on more hiking trips. Living in Upstate NY, there are so many great parks. My kids are 11 and 8, so everyone packs a bag. Water, snacks, lunch, nets, binoculars, sunscreen and bug spray. They love it and it we often lose track of time. I'm all for them for being outside and spending time as a family.
Rachel L.
Sarah, your 11 year old asking for hiking trips, that's m goal! My kids are almost 3 and 1. We started getting them outdoors from a very young age. Thanks for you comment!