Hiking With Kids


  • Plan a hike with your child’s abilities in mind
  • Let children know what to expect from the hike
  • Plan the hike as part of a trip or in conjunction with another activity


  • Give food and drink before your children experience energy lows or real thirst
  • Take frequent rests
  • Give lots of encouragement and praise efforts
  • Make up games along the way; sing songs; tell stories
  • Offer rewards and incentives
  • Remember children may derive pleasure in ways different from adults


  • Take pictures and reminisce about favorite outings; remember the good points
  • Review the hike with a map before you; use colored pencils or markers to mark the trail; display the map
  • Create a list of hikes with dates and comments about special experiences or features

Safety Reminders

  • Hike within your capabilities
  • Turn back short of your goal when necessary
  • Allow enough time to hike
  • Take plenty of water to drink
  • Tell someone where you’re going
  • Sign in at the trail register
  • Dress in layers; anticipate changing conditions
  • Wear synthetic or wool fabrics
  • Keep to the trail
  • Use common sense

Excerpted from Kids on the Trail! Hiking with Children in the Adirondacks, by Rose Rivezzi and David Trithart. Purchase Kids on the Trail! at ADK’s online store.