Hiking with your children is never anything short of an adventure. The Great Smoky Mountains offers many family-friendly hiking trails that are ideal for you and your kids. Shorter trails with awesome destinations and climbs that are not too exerting can get your little ones hooked on the healthy and exciting world of mountain hiking.
Depending on the age of your children, the trip can either be exactly what you had in mind or a minor detour from your planned route. This blog will contain some helpful hints and tips to make the hike with your children more enjoyable for all of you. The smoother things go, the happier the kids will be, and the more likely they are to want to join you on your next hiking adventure in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
Tip #1: Take them shopping before your trip.
Take your kids on a trip to the grocery store to pick out a few snacks for your camping adventure. Building anticipation is one of the main keys to getting your children excited about the hiking trip. Depending on the age of your children, you can fit them with little backpacks or hydration packs (which are almost necessary for summer hikes,) where they can carry their goodies and any treasures they find on the trail.
Tip #2: Let them help you plan.
From choosing the coolest destination, to picking their clothing and bringing a compass, letting your children help you plan the trip will increase their excitement about it. Another helpful hint: call your trip an ‘adventure,’ not a hike! The word hike often implies lots of strenuous exercise and not much fun, which, depending on your child, may not get them terribly excited about your hiking trip.
Tip #3: Snacks, snacks, snacks!
Outfit your backpack with all of the tasty goodies you can think of. Hiking is tiring and does require lots of energy, so filling and yummy snacks such as trail mix, string cheese, candy bars and crackers are all great hiking foods for little ones. If you are properly equipped with the right gear, plan a pit stop to make hot chocolate or tea to help warm back up in the wintertime.
Tip #4: Take frequent breaks.
Children tire and get distracted much more easily than adults. If your kids are getting tired or grumpy halfway through your trip, don’t be afraid to head home – the key is to make your children enjoy the trip as much as possible. Keep them engaged during the trip by asking them to keep count of the different animals they see or even identify some of the plants along your route.
For some family-friendly hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge that you and your children will love, check out our blog here: http://www.pigeonforgetncabins.com/smoky-mountain-hiking-trails-pigeon-forge-tn/