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Hiking With Kids In The Adirondacks

Have Kids? Hiking In The Adirondacks Can Be A Fun & Memorable Outing!

Adults who love hiking on Adirondack hiking trails in Upstate NY naturally want to share that passion with their kids. Unfortunately, a well-intentioned foray up a mountain that is too long, rugged or steep can tire out a smaller child and turn a fun family outing into a seemingly endless trek. Here are some tips that may help the little ones bridge the gap between learning to hike and loving it, followed by a few short, easy hikes in the Adirondacks geared toward the youngest members of your family!

  • Nature is filled with fascinating phenomenon. Kids notice even the smallest things: unusual rocks, odd-shaped trees or leaves, insects, flowers, small animals. Allowing them to explore at their own pace can go a long way toward teaching them the joy of the outdoors. Play 'I Spy' to encourage them along the path, and teach them early to leave 'only footprints'.

  • Carrying their own pack in and out can be a real source of pride for young hikers. A bottle of water and a small snack are all they need to take in order to feel like they are holding their own!

  • Younger hikers will enjoy the view from a mountaintop or scenic overlook and appreciate their own efforts in getting there. Having their own equipment such as a pair of inexpensive binoculars, a compass, or even a pedometer to show them how far they have hiked can keep them busy and let them track their own progress!

  • Consider providing kids with a disposable camera to take their own photos along the way…you never know what great shots they may come up with!

  • Avoid mud season: snow melts can turn trails into a boggy, slippery mess which can be both discouraging and dangerous to young hikers.

  • Since little bodies respond to heat and cold far differently than ours, pack plenty of sunscreen, hats, and lots of water.

  • Toddlers share one common trait: they like to put everything in their mouths, and rocks, bugs and leaves can be tempting for little ones.

  • Learn to recognize poison ivy and poison oak - and help them recognize it too! Remember, if it's "leaves of three, let it be"!

  • Insects can pose a different type of problem for kids hiking in the Adirondacks. Mosquitoes, no-see-ums, horseflies and bees can bite or sting small children when they aren't even aware of it. Carry kid-approved bug repellent and after-bite applicators. Ticks are becoming more prevalent as well, so if you can, tuck pant legs into shoes, or have them wear pants with a snug fit around the ankles.Keep an eye out at bath time for any bite that has produced a bulls-eye ring.

  • For short hikes, pack some band-aids and antibacterial ointment in case of minor scrapes or cuts.

Discover great kid-friendly hikes in the Adirondacks »

Our pick for the best hike in the southern Adirondacks for kids: Shelving Rock

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