Hiking is one of the best activities in the Black Hills and the only thing that makes hittig the trails better is sharing them with your kids. But before your family ventures out, we thought we would offer a few tips that will make hiking with your kids more enjoyable.
- Keep the distance reasonable. If you’re not sure what an appropriate distance might be, a good rule of thumb is to take the child’s age and divide it by two (e.g., a four year old can usually handle a two mile hike).
- Watch the weather. In the Black Hills, storms can come in quickly so double check the forecast before you head out.
- Set up rules and expectations before you start the hike. For example, a good rule is to always stay on the trail – never wander off. It is also a good opportunity to teach them the “Leave No Trace” rule.
- Kids like to have a sense that they are in charge (and not just being brought along). Have the kids “own” the hike by holding the trail map and/or carrying their own snacks and water (*try a fun colored small backpack with a bladder like this one). Of course, always make sure to have plenty of water and snacks.
- If your child is starting to lose interest, try to play fun games like “I Spy” or even geocaching (Roaming Around sells geocaching books for the Black Hills). You can also use landmarks to motivate them (e.g., we are going to hike until we see a mossy rock and then we’ll have a snack break).
- Be prepared to take a few extra breaks.
Now you’re ready to hit the trails! And we have a great list of kid-friendly trails for you.