Get ready for OK Times with the Okanagan Spring Summer Pack.
Let nature be the teacher for kids this summer!
Hiking with kids can be a wonderfully memorable family experience, and if you are embarking on your family’s first hike go for a walk that’s under an hour. Start small and increase as you encounter success!
A few kid-friendly hiking tips:
- Bring water – lots! Generally speaking, parents are the ones who end up carrying it, and it’s entirely worth it versus overly thirsty kids.
- Packing snacks are a must! Kids are constantly hungry at the best of times. Look for options that are higher in protein and carbohydrates versus fats.
- Always tell a reliable person where you are going and when to expect you back, leave a detailed trip itinerary, and make sure you know your route and plan accordingly.
- Remember that you are in the woods and wild animals live there. Don’t let the kids wander too far in front or behind you.
- Have a look at the comprehensive hiking safety guide put together by the North Shore Rescue. You can’t get better advice than that!
To ensure your safety and well-being when visiting parks, Parks Canada advises to stay on marked trails, abide by trail closure signs, and hike with a friend for increased safety. To avoid hazards, it recommends keeping a safe distance back from slopes, bluffs and river edges.
Here are five of my absolute favourite hikes in the region that are kid-friendly:
This loop trail takes three hours to go 8 kms, but the trail can be muddy so make sure to have appropriate footwear. This hike is suitable for babies in carriers, and kids 5 to 8. Make sure to arrive early as it gets busy in the summer.
Given that the trail involves stairs, it is not stroller accessible. The hike crosses over a stunning bridge where you’ll spot people catching fish, and soaking up the sunshine. Enjoy the scenery of the lake from many angles as you make your way around the trail.
Optional: Pack your bathing suit!
This out and back trail in Mount Seymour Provincial Park takes 1.25 hours and 3kms. This hike is suitable for babies in carriers and kids 5 to 8. Given some of the terrain involves tree roots and loose rocks, assess if your toddler to five year old would be able to handle the trail. Mystery Lake is scenic and fun for swimming.
A true favourite! This UBC area features a loop that takes 3 hours and covers 10 kms. The elevation gain is minimal, making it suitable for babies in carriers and kids 5-8. There are smaller trails nearby for those feeling less ambitious.
Be mindful that there are off-leash areas if your kids are nervous around dogs.
A fantastic hike to pack a lunch for and enjoy at the halfway point of the trail, which features a gentle light mist of water coming off the beautiful falls.
Two hours and 7 kms of out and back hiking trail with minimal elevation gains, this hike is suitable for babies in carriers, kids 2-5 and 5-8. Ensure you bring appropriate footwear as the trail can be muddy. The Crystal Falls and flowing streams and mossy forest are beautiful pieces of nature your family will appreciate.
Rainbows over waterfalls, need I say more? A guaranteed family favourite in Golden Ears Provincial Park!
This hike is two hours and 5.5 kms of out and back with minimal elevation gains, suitable for babies in carriers and kids age 5 to 8. With impressive viewpoints and opportunities for camping, this is a great choice for families. Enjoy Gold Creek, the mountains and Gold Creek Falls.