Saturday, July 27, 2013

Four ways to avoid crowds when day hiking with children

To avoid crowds on a hiking trail, consider hiking off-season or picking
trails without parking lots. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
With summer’s arrival, you’ve probably noticed that trails at national and state parks are a bit crowded. While we can all applaud that people are out hiking and enjoying nature, crowds also can be a distraction from enjoying the outdoors.

If that’s the case with you and your family, there’s no need to give up day hiking. Here are a few ways to avoid crowds on trails:
g Go mid-week – Most people don’t work weekends, so parks and trails are used more frequently on Saturdays, Sundays and Fridays or Mondays of three-day weekends. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will see fewer people outdoors.
g Hike off-season – Summers from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend tend to be the most popular times for families to visit parks and use trails, mainly because school is out. Consider hiking on nice days in April, May, September and October.
g Pick trails without parking lots – While a park may be busy, the trails that are most used are those where people can easily park their vehicles. Using a non-lot trail may mean you have to walk a little farther to the trailhead, though.
g Select trails far away off the main road – Trailheads that are alongside federal or state highways as well as those on main park roads tend to be the most popular (even though they may not be the most spectacular). Look for trailheads off of county or township roads.

Learn about more than a hundred other hiking diversions for kids in Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities.