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! Hiking with Children in the Adirondacks at ADK’s online store.