by Jeff Doran
So you want to plan a summer hiking trip in the Tetons, but due to the young kids in the back seat of your car, you’re starting to rethink your agenda. Maybe you’re concerned your children will be bored traipsing through the woods or will tire quickly. But, rest assured, you really DON’T have to hang up your boots until the kids go off to college.
Fortunately there are several tactics parents can use to make hiking enjoyable for kids. The key is to keep them interested, motivated, and most importantly, make sure they have fun. Here are several tips for accomplishing these objectives:
Keep the hike short, especially for younger kids. As they get older and begin to build confidence and endurance, gradually increase the distance.
Although we as adults enjoy expansive views, this isn’t as important to kids. Children much prefer a scaled-down view of the world. Appeal to this by visiting a waterfall, a cave, large boulders, a hollowed-out tree, or a lake to throw rocks into.
As you venture down the trail, point things out along the way. Play a scavenger hunt game where children try to find items such as pinecones, wildflowers, boulders, insects, bird’s nests, certain types of trees, or wildlife.
To assure a successful journey, let them set the pace, bring lots of snacks, take frequent breaks, be prepared for a variety of weather conditions, and consider allowing them to bring a friend.
There are many Teton hikes that are short and easy and will appeal to both children and adults. Here’s a few of my favorites:
For more information or to plan your routes, visit TetonHikingTrails.com