Hiking with the kids? Yes!

Nothing says summer like a hike – especially when you’re looking to get away from the Arizona heat for a few days.
There are many options – from Flagstaff to the White Mountains and many stops in between. But before you load up the car and the kids, we’ve found some good advice from several experts in the area.

1) Research your destination. There are dozens of books out there – and websites – that list hiking trails around our great state. Look at them to find one that fits your needs. If you have young kids, don’t pick a hike that’s too difficult, or too long. Raising Arizona Kids published this great article about hiking around the Grand Canyon.
2) Pack lots of food and water. The water is a must no matter where you choose to hike. We found a good article on heat illness you may want to review. Plan appropriately to have enough water for your hike, plus extra. Food is a good motivator for kids, as well as the “must have” item when the kids are getting a little grumbly. Use “snack time” to take breaks or to encourage the little ones to keep going.
3) Dress for the day, but prepare for a weather change. Bring layers for yourself and your children. Be sure you have an outer layer for water protection.
4) Check the shoes. Kids love flip flops and sandals in the summer, but they won’t work for a hike. Be sure they have solid, closed-toe shoes on. Bring an extra pair if you’ll be hiking in or around water.
5) Don’t forget the sunscreen. We remember it when we go to the pool in the Valley, but may forget the need for it where it is cooler. Put sunscreen on everyone and remember to reapply every hour.
6) Give everyone a hat. This will help protect the tops of their heads, as well as their eyes and nose.
We found some more great information in the following links. Enjoy and happy hiking!

Arizona Hiking Tips
wilderness.org – Hiking with kids
REI – Backpacking with Kids
Best Scottsdale Hikes for Kids

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