12 Practical Tips For Hiking With Kids – Safe and Have Fun

by Crazy Hiker

After a busy day at work, there’s nothing quite like going outdoors on a beautiful day to go hiking with your kids. Hiking with kids can be an incredibly rewarding experience, providing valuable opportunities for adventure, bonding, and appreciation of nature. Many hiking trails near your house can take you to town, the beach, and even a few lakes that are only attainable by walking.

The only problem is that some top spots to overtake are more than a mile away. That might not be an obstruction for you, but what about your 2-year-old kid? That could lead to a strange situation!

But with an accurate arrangement, you can handle a longer hike with your kid and make unforgettable memories. Here are some top recommendations that will help you ensure your next hiking trip is a success!

However, it also presents unique challenges that require careful planning and preparation. With over a decade of experience in outdoor education and adventure, I’ve compiled 12 practical tips to help make your family’s hiking trips safe, enjoyable, and memorable.

1. Start With a Kid-Friendly Trail

The first thing you should do is select a trail that matches your group. Remember, not all treks are the same – some might be too complicated for young children, while others could have scarce interest for them.

While selecting a trail you should consider the age, interests, and physical abilities of your children. 

Before you head out, do some thorough research to find a trail that’s just suitable for your family. When you’re a parent taking your children along, remember that there might be situations where you’ll need to haul your 2-year-old, 3-year-old, and your supplies.

Do you want to carry an additional 110 pounds up a steep 9% incline? Prevent that condition because you might end up needing an asthma inhaler once you reach the top! Choose a level path that’s easy to hike. This way, if you do have to do some carrying, you won’t require training like a pro player to manage it well.

2. Pick the Right Time

If you’re becoming ready to hike with your kids, ensure to choose the time of your hike sensibly. Remember, children can be tired quite fast, so it’s better to set off early in the morning or wait for later in the day when they’ll be more energized and enthusiastic.

If you can handle it, choose an early morning hike to grab them at their liveliest. As the day goes on, they might become more vulnerable to getting tired and a bit scratchy.

Before you depart for your hike, make sure to take a glance at the atmosphere forecast. You wouldn’t want to find yourself digging in worse weather or facing the scraping heat of the day without ample water.

3. Pack Light But Smartly 

Pack only essential items to keep your backpack light. But don’t skip necessities like water, snacks, a first-aid kit, sun protection, and extra clothing layers.

Remember to retain your children well-hydrated and cherished during your time on the trek. Don’t forget to bring snacks and water for everyone in your team.

Encourage your children to carry their lightweight backpacks with small items like toys to keep them entertained. It’s also a perfect idea to arrange a unique backpack for your children with their snacks. 

This way, they can sense that someone is leading them on their outdoor hiking adventure. Excellent snacks for your children during a hike include granola bars, fruits, crackers, and peanut butter.

4. Bring the Hiking Essentials

Starting any successful hike involves having the right essentials and supplies on hand. And if you’re hiking with your kids, that list of supplies will need to be more extensive. Along with ensuring you have enough snacks and water, it’s also essential to bring sunscreen, bug repellent, and hats. 

Remember to wear more sunscreen during the hike, especially near water. By taking a few simple steps, you can make sure your kids have a safe and enjoyable walk.

For those longer hikes in national parks, it’s a good idea to carry a safety whistle in case you encounter animals. You might even consider having a bear spray on hand. Additionally, think about investing in a larger Camelbak hiking backpack, so you have enough water for the trip.

5. Dress Smartly in Layers

Kids should wear comfortable and weather-friendly clothing along with sturdy footwear suitable for hiking. Layering helps to regulate the body temperature of the children in changing weather conditions. Always carry hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect against sun exposure.

Hiking clothing generally uses stuff that dries swiftly and removes sweat, which is excellent for children who are always on the move and getting sticky. 

Furthermore, these outdoor clothes are generally more rigid than daily life clothes, which matters when you’re hiking on complex terrains. So, when you’re getting ready for your upcoming hike, dress your children in layers so they can adjust their clothing as needed.

6. Stick to Certified and Safe Trails 

When you’re hiking with your children, it’s essential to choose trails that are already established and easy to walk behind. This approach will enhance their safety and make the hike more enjoyable for all.

If you decide on a challenging trail or create your path, you might find yourself carrying your kids for part of the journey. This can be tiring for you and your kids, especially if you have two or more children.

Remember, longer hikes can be more demanding for everyone, so start with trails that form a loop. This way, the kids will better understand when the hike will end.

7. Involve Your Kids While Planning

Getting your kids involved in the planning can amp up their excitement for the hike. Ask them about the places they want to explore and what interests them.

To enhance your endurance, it’s essential to tackle longer hikes occasionally. While the kids enjoy themselves during the outing, the last 10 minutes will be challenging since everyone, including you, will be tired and eager to finish.

Stay patient during this phase, take regular breaks for water, and you’ll eventually return with a sense of accomplishment. Your kids will be proud because they’ll have achieved something new.

8. Take Breaks and Explore

For you, there’s a hiking trail that leads to your local beach, but it’s not the most straightforward path once you reach the end of it.

The side of a 200-foot cliff has several steps carved into it, and then the final 25% of the trail is essentially a rope that you need to climb down to get to the water.

Could you manage that hike comfortably? Absolutely. But would your kids be able to enjoy the satisfaction of completing the trail? Probably not. Understanding your boundaries will make the return journey much smoother.

When you’re hiking with kids, things can move slowly at times. Be ready to stop often for everyone to take a breather. It’s also an ideal moment to let your kids freely explore the surrounding area.

9. Be Ready for the Unexpected

Putting safety first is always the best approach. Make sure to have a first-aid kit with you and understand how to use it. It’s also wise to inform someone else about your plans, including where you’re headed and your expected return time. 

Whether it’s a trip across town or just around the corner, pack everything you might need in any unexpected situation. This should include bandages, wipes, spare clothes, a water bottle for each child, and other items specific to your family.

By doing so, you can promptly address a scraped knee or handle complaints of thirst without waiting until you’re back home or at a suitable stopping point during your family hikes.

10. Reward the Effort

A little bit of encouragement can make a big difference when you’re hiking with young kids. You can promise them a special treat once they complete the whole hike.

Sometimes, we hike to the nearby grocery store just to get a special treat. We might even pick some daisies along the way to bring back home. Other times, the reward could be as simple as taking a picture of them pretending to be ninjas in the woods.

No matter which hiking trail you’re on, consider creating a reward if there isn’t one waiting at the end. This can boost the enthusiasm for future hikes. Without compensation, the kids might end up disappointed and lose interest in hiking. Introducing some rewards will help keep your kids engaged in the hike for a longer time.

11. Follow Their Lead

When hiking with kids, permit them to take the lead sometimes. This enhances their feeling of investigation and authority, making participation more appealing. Follow their speed, interests, and curiosity, and you’ll make unforgettable memories and cherish their love for nature and outdoor expenditure.

12. Practice Ahead Before Going to Hike

Practice with your children on plain treks before handling more complex hikes. This fosters their confidence, endurance, and adaptability to outdoor conditions. It’s an exciting way to encourage safety and nature while ensuring everyone enjoys the outdoor adventure.


Exploring the adventures with your children through hiking can boost solid bonds and establish the foundation for amazing upcoming family adventures. By managing time to prepare sufficiently, you modify the experience into a cheerful and accomplishing venture for everyone with you in the hiking adventure. 

Adore the moments spent together in nature, as they make lasting memories and create a love for outdoor adventure with your kids. We trust that you found these insights precious and wish you many enjoyable hikes ahead!

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What are some of the best tips for hiking with kids?

When hiking with kids, remember to come prepared, employ patience, and perpetuate a positive outlook. Ensuring everyone’s dressed considerably for the atmosphere and carrying a comfortable backpack is essential. Also, pick a time for the hike when your kid is well-rested and done eating food. These tips will commit to a safer and more exciting hiking experience for the whole family.

How do I keep my kids safe while hiking?

When hiking with kids, categorize safety by picking necessary first-aid items, wearing weather-appropriate clothing, and ensuring your kid is well-rested and nourished. Moreover, enlighten someone about your hiking plans and twig to planned trails to improve safety during the hiking.

What should I bring on a hike with my kids?

When hiking with your kids, pack extra clothes, diapers, and baby formula if needed. Remember to bring drinks, snacks, and a first-aid kit. Lastly, ensure everyone is dressed in pleasant clothing and appropriate shoes for the outing.

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