“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.” – Mary Davis
There is no denying it; getting outside feeds the body, mind, and soul. And the beauty of hiking is that it is an activity for everyone, of all ages and stages. In fact, did you know that a simple hike can reduce stress, increase one’s attention span, improve sensory skills and aid cognitive development?
Not sure about hiking with your little ones just yet? No worries! Here are 5 tips for hiking with kids to help you feel more comfortable on the trails in the Asheville area.
1. Involve the kids in packing
Empower your kids by asking them to help you pack the snacks and water for the trail. If the kids are old enough, have them carry a small backpack with their own water bottle and snack bag.
2. Turn it into play
Try playing fun games like the ABC game (find something that starts with A. Now, B. etc) or create a scavenger hunt list for the hike (find 5 mushrooms, listen for 5 bird calls, find 5 different bugs, etc). Include fun nature items like bugs, animals, leaves, and trees for both of those games.
3. Sure, bribery works
While they may have helped you pack, sometimes you need a “homerun” snack. This is a snack that they don’t know about until about half-way through the trail & you know they are going to LOVE. Use this snack to encourage them to make it to the end of the trail. Perhaps the snack is peanut M&Ms or homemade peanut butter cracker sandwiches. Each kid is different so find your little one’s currency.
4. Bring on the recruits
Sure, hiking alone can be rejuvenating and relaxing. But when hiking with kids in tow, it always helps to have other kids along for the ride. Ask a fellow mama to join you for the hike. Then, you can have company while the kids play on the trail.
5. Make it a habit
If you only do it once a year, your kids are never going to learn to appreciate the experience. However, if you turn nature into a habit – something you experience at least once a month – the kids will begin to look forward to their dose of Vitamin N(ature). Especially if each hike offers a new view, waterfall, or playdate.
Now, where should you hike in the Asheville area? Well, we have 8 great recommendations for you! In fact, we are organizing hikes for every Saturday in September and October with fellow women, mamas, and families in Asheville. Below you will find the schedule & links to RSVP. Each hike will start at 10am at the trailhead; please RSVP so we know who to expect.
This nature trail loops around Lake Powhatan and offers wildflowers and many water views, including the creek. Length: 1.7 RT. Difficulty: Moderate
For more information and directions to this trail, please visit: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/north-carolina/bent-creek-educational-forest-trail
Explore two popular Asheville parks and a paved greenway, perfect for strollers, joggers, toddler and mamas! For this one, we invite bikes and strollers to come along with us. Length: 2.4 RT. Difficulty: Easy
For more information and directions to this trail, please visit: https://ashevilletrails.com/asheville/carrier-park-french-broad-river-greenway/
This forested hike is mostly used as a nature trail, perfect for adventures with little explorers. Length: 1.4 RT. Difficulty: Moderate
For more information and directions to this trail, please visit: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/hominy-creek-greenway
What is more exciting than hiking towards a natural wonder? Together we walk the longest trail of our series at Dupont State Park. Length. 2.3 Miles. Difficulty: Easy
For more information and directions to this trail, please visit: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/triple-falls-trail?ref=search
Expect to see not only a 45 foot waterfall, but also dense nature and bird sightings. Length: .9 RT. Difficulty: Easy
For more information and directions to this trail, please visit: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/north-carolina/linville-falls-trail?ref=search
This hike is a great forest shaded setting trail that starts and ends right at the visitor’s center. Length: 1.4 RT. Difficulty: Easy
For more information and directions to this trail, please visit: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/north-carolina/blue-ridge-parkway-visitors-center-loop–2
For this perfect fall hike, we will travel through twisted rhododendron on our way to multiple spectacular views. Length: 1.9 RT. Difficulty: Moderate
For more information and directions to this trail, please visit: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/craggy-gardens
This Pisgah Forest gem is a great adventure for all explorers of all abilities and features a waterfall we can get up close and personal with! Length: 1.2 RT. Difficulty: Easy
For more information and directions to this trail, please visit: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/north-carolina/moore-cove-falls-trail?ref=search