Hiking with Children

Spring is in the air, and Northwest Arkansas is calling us all to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty. It’s a perfect opportunity to take your family hiking.

Short family hikes

There are plenty of easy family hikes in Northwest Arkansas. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Tanyard Creek Loop in Bella Vista
  • Crystal Bridges Art Trail in Bentonville
  • Gregory Park Loop in Fayetteville
  • Mud Creek Trail in Fayetteville
  • Lake Fayetteville in Fayetteville

Be prepared

Advance planning makes a happy hike possible. Everyone should wear comfortable shoes, layers of clothing to take off and put on as the temperature changes, and plenty of sunscreen. Soft hats offer protection from sun and wind, too.

Carry water and snacks and plan to stop frequently if you’re walking with small children. A camera or a notebook and pencil will help older kids stay focused and build memories for the future. 

Pack a basic first-aid kit in case of scrapes and scratches. Give each child a loud whistle. Make sure they know that if they get lost or separated from the family, they should stop and blow the whistle until you find them — not keep wandering.

Keep it fun

Hiking is fun, but kids may get tired or bored before you finish the hike. Stop and play occasionally, but you can also add activities to keep kids motivated to finish the hike.

  • Sing. Songs like “I Love to Go A-wandering” and “The Ants Go Marching” are traditional, but any catchy tune will work.
  • Have a scavenger hunt. Look for a feather, a round rock, or a particular color.
  • Try to identify trees, flowers, birds, and other sights.
  • Play games like 20 Questions or I Spy. Look for something for each letter of the alphabet. Most of the games you played on road trips as a kid are great for hiking.
  • Have those long conversations you don’t usually have time for, about controversial questions or the fine details of video games.
  • Pack a snack or picnic to rest and celebrate when you reach the furthest point or final destination. 

When you get home

Check for ticks, drink plenty of water, and plan your next family hike!

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