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Safety Tips for Hiking with Kids

Updated on July 23, 2014

Hiking with Children

Hiking with children is a great way to get kids out into nature, while getting some exercise at the same time. It's a fun way to spend some quality family time together and let kids do some exploring.

Having four children, I've had quite a bit of experience with this and would like to share some of the tips I've used to help ensure that your family has wonderful hiking experiences while at the same time keeping children safe.

If you have any tips I've missed, please feel free to add them at the end.

Trail photo by SeppVie at Wikimedia Commons.

Hiking with Kids

To start with, make sure kids are dressed comfortably. It wouldn't hurt to have a spare set of clothes in the car. Now, kids may want to wear sandals if it's hot outside, but for safety reasons, closed toed shoes are better. This protects them from accidentally scraping up their toes.

Before leaving for a hike, talk to your kids about the importance of staying on the trail. Children are naturally curious and will think nothing of wandering off, not taking into consideration that there could be poison oak in the area, snakes or unsafe areas.

I would suggest bringing a pair of binoculars so if they see something afar that they're curious about, the binoculars will give them a much better view. Binoculars will also allow kids to get in some bird watching.

Sign image by Wing-Chi Poon at Wikimedia Commons.

Hiking Trails for Kids

When picking a trail, choose one that your kids can comfortably hike on. Younger kids especially may tire out quickly if there are too many steep hills to climb.

Try to find one with interesting things to see and do. For example, does the trail have any interactive activities? How about a creek or waterfall? Kids love water.

Often, local parks have trails, so there's a good place to start.

Be prepared to stop and rest frequently. If kids get tired, the rest of the hike could be ruined.

Hiking photo by jdurham at morgueFile.

Binoculars for Kids

Bushnell Powerview 8x21 Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular (Black)
Bushnell Powerview 8x21 Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular (Black)

What I like about these is that they have non-slip rubber armor which helps kids maintain a firm grip.

Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Binoculars
Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Binoculars

This set is good for younger children. Not only is it durable, it comes with a fun strap so kids don't have to carry them with their hands.

Wild Planet Spy Gear Night Scope
Wild Planet Spy Gear Night Scope

These are really cool for night hikes. You can see up to 50' ahead in complete darkness.


Hiking Poll

Do you hike with kids?

See results

What to Bring on a Hike

Before starting, apply sunscreen. I personally like to use the waterproof kind in case my kids do come in contact with water.

We tend to get a lot of mosquitoes in some of the trails we go on, so I make sure to use some insect repellent.

I advise having some kind of first aid kit handy. With any luck, you won't need it, but it's good to have just in case someone falls down and gets a scrape.

Keep on hand some kind of wipes, tissue or toilet paper. As gross as this may sound, when a kid "has to go," a kid has to go. It's better to be prepared.

Water is a must. If using disposable plastic bottles, I suggest freezing them the night before so as the kids hike, the ice will melt and the water will be nice and cold. Otherwise, fill the water bottles with lots of ice.

Bring along some healthy snacks. Even if you don't think your kids will get hungry, it's best to have them on hand anyway.

Include a small container of hand sanitizer, especially if you think your kids will be eating a snack.

Be sure to have a cell phone handy in case of emergency.

First aid kit available from Amazon below.

Hiking Safety Video

Short video with great advice.

Hiking Fun

Of course, you want your kids to have fun. There are lots of fun things to do along a trail.

Come up with a list of things for your kids to look for while on the hike. Suggestions include a black bug, a bird in the tree, poop, (kids always think poop is so funny,) berries, the sound of a frog and pointy leaves.

Do you have a metal detector? Kids can have lots of fun with these, especially if hiking near a beach area.

If there is a creek or a sandy area, pack some shovels and let them dig.

With close supervision, encourage them to touch and smell different things along the way.

Depending on how much stuff you're bringing, you might let each of them carry a lightweight backpack to keep their own supplies in.

Let them take some pictures to remember their hike with.

As you can see, there are many fun activities to keep kids busy and happy while hiking.

Original source of this image is Portable Antiquities Scheme and was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by user Magnus Manske.

Shovel for Kids

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Happy Giddy Trowel Gardening Tool for Kids
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Happy Giddy Trowel Gardening Tool for Kids

Here's a shovel for kids that's inexpensive. Be sure to have one for each child so the kids don't fight over who gets to use it.


Hiking Check List

Here are some supplies in case you need anything.

Amazon Search for Hiking

Feel free to search on Amazon for your hiking needs.

Beautiful Hiking Trail

Image by imma at morgueFile.

What are your hiking tips?

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    Post Comment
    • WriterJanis2 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @DeborahDian: That must have been so much fun for you.

    • WriterJanis2 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @TransplantedSoul: That's a very smart idea.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 

      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      When my kids were growing up, I was a Scout leader and a Campfire Girl leader. These are great tips for hiking with kids!

    • TransplantedSoul profile image


      5 years ago

      I think when hiking with kids, it is important to stop frequently and to ask them how they are doing. Making sure that you do not over-do it is a good practice.

    • WriterJanis2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Felicitas: Yes there are.

    • WriterJanis2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks.

    • WriterJanis2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @kabbalah lm: Good advice.

    • Felicitas profile image


      6 years ago

      A lot of great ideas! There's so many beautiful and interesting places to see.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tips!*********

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 

      6 years ago

      It's best to dress in layers when hiking

    • Diva2Mom profile image


      6 years ago

      I love to hike especially with my kids, so all these helpful tips are very much appreciated from the heart. Amazing lens indeed! My only simple hiking tips will be to bring First Aid kit and lots of water, and for me, my ipod with lots of great music in case I get stranded somewhere,, no, lots of H2O and real comfy SHOES and clothing, NOT heels for a Diva like me, LOL! BLESSED by a little Squid Angel! God bless you sweetheart! Muah!

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      6 years ago

      I think yoiu covered those that I would recommend. Excellent lens!

    • takkhisa profile image


      6 years ago

      Very useful lens with many safety advices.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      thanks for sharing your experience on hiking with kids. great useful tips here.

    • CoffeeDude LM profile image

      CoffeeDude LM 

      6 years ago

      I don't hike with kids, but I think your blog is great information for adults hiking as well.

    • profile image

      coolmon2009 lm 

      6 years ago

      Nice information and resource for taking kids hiking, good lens.

    • WriterJanis2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: Isn't hiking great? I love getting out in nature.

    • WriterJanis2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Wedding Mom: I totally agree.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have loved hiking trails since I was a kid. Your trips a very good advice. :)

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 

      6 years ago

      Great tips. It's always better to be safe and careful with kids around.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image


      7 years ago

      Find a pub and get away from the kids

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hiking is a great activity to do with the kids. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips.

    • WriterJanis2 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @Natalie W Schorr: Thank you all for your comments. They are so appreciated.

    • Natalie W Schorr profile image

      Natalie W Schorr 

      7 years ago

      Excellent advice!

    • Camden1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great tips! Our kids also liked carrying their own little backpacks when we went hiking. They would put their snacks and a stuffed animal in it.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice lens, good tips, enjoyed hiking very much in my younger days thanks for sharing. Blessed

    • hsschulte profile image


      7 years ago

      I love to hike. I try to get my kids out to explore new areas as often as possible. That shoe tip is important!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      Very good advice. I would love it if more children were provided opportunities to immerse themselves in nature. It helps keep their sense of wonder alive. I would also recommend geocaching. Kids love to find hidden treasure and it is a great way for them to learn how to use a GPS unit. Happy trails!

    • Rebeljohn profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nice lens great info thanks

    • Joycevoice profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a great lens with important safety information. My tip would be to have your kids be a big part of the planning process.


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