Hiking with Kids

Enjoy the longer Spring and Summer days with your kids enjoying all the beautiful scenery our Pacific Northwest has to offer. There are so many kid friendly hikes in our area that are breathtaking and would be perfect for an adventure with the whole family. We reviewed some websites, blogs and recommendations from local families for a list of favorite hikes. Most are day trips but some are under three hours and right here in our backyards. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about nature while getting some activity and setting foundations for an active and healthy lifestyle.

Here are some tips when hiking with kids:

  1. Bring a backpack: Having a backpack with you is crucial. Find something lightweight that an adult or older child could carry. You will want it to have straps that cross your chest for good support. It’s also a good place to store all those treasures they might find.
  2. Pack snacks and water: Make sure to fill a water bottle or two to bring along on your adventure. You will also want some snacks; mixed nuts, raisins, granola bars, trail mix, and energy bars are great to take along.
  3. Wear the right shoes: If you’re hiking near water, you want shoes that are sturdy, but can get wet. If you are hiking near mud or on a long hike, you’ll want to wear socks with a good pair of hiking shoes. Another great idea is to bring a second pair of shoes to leave in the car and change into when you’re done hiking.
  4. Find a good stick: You’ll be finding a lot of fun things on a hike, but a good stick is of utmost importance! It can be used for so many things – as a walking stick, for sword fighting, for poking at plants, pointing at things far away, and more!
  5. Keep a look out: There are so many treasures to search for on a hike. We love to keep our eyes out for the following fun things:
    Plants – Ferns, flowers, and trees make for a diverse forest in Washington State, a great teaching opportunity for young ones
    Bugs – Spider webs and creepy crawling things are all over. Make sure to spot them on your hike.
    Holes – There seems to be a lot of holes from trail to trail. We like to find them and guess what might live inside!
    Critters – Keep your eye out for animals on the trail. We’ll often see squirrels and keep our ears open for the sound of birds.
  6. Watch for things on your path: It’s fun to look for the roots that pop up all over the pathway. When you’re on a hike with lots of trees, you’ll be sure to see the tree roots pop up. Make sure you look out for them and try not to get tripped.
  7. Talk about what to do if you see berries or poisonous plants: Get familiar with common poisonous plants. Make sure to point them out and talk to your kids about NOT picking any berries or leaves off trees and bushes.
  8. Look for the unexpected: It’s the best on a hike when you come upon fallen trees or other unusual sights.
  9. Make sure you bring camera: There are always good photo opportunities on a hike. Take a picture at the top to show your view or even create a few fun photos of your own, like pretending to be a bear on a log!
  10. And last but not least, have fun in NATURE! If you come prepared with the above items and hiking ideas, you’ll be on your way to a fun family hike.

-Camila Bomfim, Programs Director CAC - Pine Lake