Get Ready to Hike

Make your family hikes so much more fun with these hiking tips.

What You Need

  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Bug repellant
  • Camera (optional)
  • Cell phone (optional)
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hat (optional)
  • Magnifying glass (optional)
  • Nature scavenger hunt handouts (optional)
  • Plastic bags, for gathering garbage you see
  • Sketchbook, pencil and crayons (optional)
  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet paper
  • Trail map

What You Do

  1. Before you leave, make sure everyone has their basics
    Each person should have their basic Emergency Survival Kit in case someone gets separated.
    Each person should have sturdy footwear – no sandals or Crocs.
    Review basic safety tips such as blowing your whistle only when you are lost and hugging a tree if you are lost.
    Make sure each person has some water.
  2. Apply sunscreen and bug repellent if hiking when there are bugs.
  3. As you hike, stop often to check out little things
    You might increase everyone’s motivation to look around if you bring nature scavenger hunt handouts.
    You can use your magnifying glass or binoculars to look at the woods in a new way.
  4. Look for signs of wildlife
    1. Tracks in the mud or snow?
    2. Feathers?
    3. Animal droppings (also called “scat”)?
    4. Bones?
    5. Animal homes?
    6. Insect galls (they look like a bubble of bark)?
    7. Acorns or leaves with nibbles on them?
  5. Listen for wildlife sounds
    Try to imitate them to see if you get a response.
    A “psh” sound can sometimes draw birds closer to you.
  6. Make rubbings of cool textures
    Using the side of your crayon sometimes works better.
    We made round crayons by melting down crayon bits in muffin tins.
  7. Pick up trash you see
    And never pick living things to take home. In some places, you are not supposed to bring home even non-living things – always ask.
    If you need to use the restroom and there is no toilet, put your toilet paper in your trash bag. Don’t bury it in the woods.
  8. Hike quietly sometimes
    You are more likely to see wildlife if you are quiet.
    Also, play a game to see what you hear when you all walk silently for 60 seconds.
    This is a good chance to talk about having reverence for nature.
  9. Make sure all kids stick with an adult
    And stick to the trail as much as possible to keep nature intact.