Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stay on the trail when day hiking with kids

Hiking off trail means potentially damaging fragile growth.

Following this rule not only ensures you minimize damage but is also a matter of safety. Off trail is where kids most likely will encounter dangerous animals and poisonous plants. Not being able to see where they’re stepping also increases the likelihood of falling and injuring themselves. Leaving the trail also raises the chances of getting lost.

Staying on the trail also means staying out of caves, mines or abandoned structures you may encounter. They are usually dangerous places and wild animals may be living there.

In addition, never let children take a shortcut on a switchback trail. Besides putting them on steep ground upon which they could slip, their impatient act will cause the switchback to erode.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.