When I talk about the trails on my blog I will try to categorize them as best I can. Please follow the guide below for my personalized definitions. My boy is 7 years old and mostly hikes at adult pace. He has been hiking for years and is very experienced. He has hiked up to 6-7 miles on his own. My 3 year old varies more in her skills. While some trails she is able to hike on her own, there are still many trails that require her to be carried part of the time and some I carry her the whole time. Her pace can be extremely slow some days and other days she is able to keep up better with the older kids. We hike alone sometimes and many times we bring along friends and family. Keep in mind we have years of experience and trails will be more difficult if you are just starting out. I have hiked with children from newborn up to 12 yrs old. With toddlers I recommend always bringing a carrier as a backup, you can’t always predict how they will do with each hike. I also recommend always hiking with a friend and definitely telling at least one person where you are going and how long you should be gone. Research trails thoroughly before trying a new trail, and it is good to get information from multiple sources. Please practice trail safety! Happy Trails!
(Disclaimer: Children of all ages can vary in their hiking abilities and descriptions may not fit you or your child’s skill levels. Please use your discretion and make the best choice for your families safety.)
Grade school age: 6-12yrs
Easy: Mostly flat, mellow, easily defined trail. Toddlers and Preschoolers will be able to walk this trail with minimum help. Grade school age children and older should find these trails very easy. These trails are mostly 1 mile and under round trip.
Easy Moderate: Mild Elevation changes. Toddlers and Preschoolers will be able to hike this with minimum help. May be rocky areas or other obstacles that may require adult assistance. The distance may wear them out and they may need to be carried part of the time. Grade school age children and older should find these trails easy with minimum assistance. These trails are mostly 2 miles and under round trip.
Moderate: These trails will have elevation changes that will be difficult for toddlers and preschoolers and they may need help or may need to be carried during those portions. There may also be more difficult obstacles and rock scaling that will require precaution. Grade school age children should be able to complete these trails without much help, but may need assistance and extra supervision during difficult areas. The distance may also require more endurance for some children who aren’t used to hiking very long. These trails will be mostly 3 miles and under round trip.
Moderate Hard: These trails will have periods of significant elevation change where young children may tire easily, need assistance or required being carried. Older children should be able to hike on their own but may require extra rest and a slower pace. These trails will also include trails that are longer and require more endurance. These trails may include obstacles that require teamwork and other assistance. These trails are mostly 4 miles and under round trip.
Hard: These trails may be steep and mostly uphill. Toddlers and Preschoolers will mostly need to be carried. Grade school children may require rest or extra time to complete the trail. These trails may include obstacles that require teamwork and other assistance. It will be wise to have more than one adult. These trails may also be longer in length and require more endurance. These trails are mostly 5 miles and under round trip.
Very Hard: These trails will either be very long (over 5 miles) or steep and mostly uphill or a combination of both and may include difficult obstacles. Toddlers and Preschoolers will most likely be carried the majority of the way. Grade school children may not be able to complete these trails. These trails may not have defined trails and may require some route finding skills. It is advised to have more than one adult. These trails may be 5+ miles.