Tips for Hiking with Kids and Friends

With social distancing being the norm for now, hiking can be a great activity for many of us. For a great list of possible activities check out this awesome article Social Distancing Doesn’t Have to Doom Your Weekends..

Let’s be frank, shall we? Hiking with little ones can be, how shall we say, tricky!?! Our recent hike with friends to Lower Yosemite Falls – Yosemite National Park went so well that I wanted to share some tips that we stumbled upon. Here are our ideas for making a hike with kids and friends as successful as possible!

Bring Plenty of Drinking Water – This tip is pretty self explanatory and the #1 tip for any hiking or outdoor activity.  In fact, you should drink plenty of water if you’re just sitting around the house or the office too.  With kids in tow be sure to bring enough water for everyone in your group.

Pack Extra Socks (& Shoes) – We didn’t bring an extra socks on our recent hike with friends in  and B rambled thigh deep into the freezing creek before we even met up with our friends. Luckily for us, our friends had thought to pack extra kid-sized socks so B’s little toes were saved!

Pack a Backpack with Snacks and Treats – We ended up parking our car a good distance from the Visitors Center and trailhead so having snacks with us was essential for cooperative children.  Kids seem to get hungry every couple of hours.  Plus, sometimes the littlest of legs need a little extra motivational fuel to keep going. We like Annie’s Bunny Gummies as motivational treats or fruit flavored Tic Tacs.  It’s nice to let your friends know what you are planning on bringing.  For example, you might say “We’re planning on bringing sandwiches for our family and mandarin oranges, granola bars, and carrot sticks to share.” It’s nice to pack enough “special” snacks to share with everyone in your group.

Dress in Layers – The day of our group hike, our weather app suggested a possibility of light snow, it ended up just raining a little bit. We were glad that we had dressed warmly with several layers.  The kids went back and forth between jackets and no jackets so many, times during the afternoon.  When the kids aren’t wearing their jackets they can tie them around their waist using the sleeves, or you can hang them off of a backpack or belt buckle with a carabiner clip.

Take Your Time – My 8th grade teacher did a lot of outdoor activities with us and one of our repeated lessons was, “You’re only as fast as your slowest group member” (Thank you Mr. Vixie).  There’s really no benefit to making the slowest group member miserable by pushing them too hard.  That will only ruin the experience for everyone. So pay attention to the slowest person and patiently go at their pace. If your slowest member is a very small child you can bring something to carry them if you wish to go at a faster pace.  It is very unlikely that you will succeed in forcing anyone to move faster than they are comfortable with.

Remember Why You Are Doing This – The answer to this question may be different depending on the situation.  A group hike with friends and children should probably not be about reaching a hiking goal.  The point of the experience is more likely going to be, establishing, developing, or maintaining relationships.  The point is to have a shared experience with people you care about.  It’s not about how far you go, or if you reach the intended destination or get the perfect photo.  It’s about making a memory for your kids, your friends, and yourself that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the journey, enjoy being together in nature, enjoy whatever the hike turns into, even if it’s not exactly what you expected.

My next post will be about our last hike in Yosemite to Mirror lake. Until then, happy outdoor exploring everyone! Thank you for following us or just popping by for a visit. 😊

🥾 Do you have any more tips for hiking with friends and kids? Please leave them in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Tips for Hiking with Kids and Friends

  1. Great tips! If we weren’t in a “National” park that says no-no to taking anything from nature, we’d find something “special “ like a rock to decorate and commemorate the specific place. I found a rock my son and I painted in 2000. One time sitting, by a river bank, my sons and I (circa 2000), made a map of the USA 🇺🇸 using rocks (and yes it was great I had lots of sunscreen). I know it’s not a hiking tip, but I had that memory and thought of you and kiddos. I always take extra socks, first aid kit, a whistle, and fire starter on my hikes. I guess too many group hikes in days past trained me this way! I call it my “survival kit” (there are other things but maybe too much for day hikes). Keep living the dream! 💚👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! First aid kit is a great idea 💡
      So far, most of our hikes have been quite short and quite close to Visitor Centers so I hadn’t thought of first aid kits, whistles and survival packs. Now that you mention it, we learned all that in 8th grade too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awesome!! When I was a MS Principal I created a class called “Scavengers” and we put together all kinds of hiking items. And was fortunate to partner with Missouri Dept of Education to bring in archery, Dutch oven cooking, fishing,…you name it! I always told my Home School families of the resources from these departments in every state. I wanted to home school so
        Many times so it was important to me to get kids outside of 4 walls and teach them what matters most. I admire you so very much 👏🏻🙏🏻💚❤️🤗

        Liked by 1 person

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