Hiking with Toddlers Tips

hiking with toddlers

How has everyone been holding up with quarantine life? Moms, are you going a little nuts yet?? While I know exactly how lucky and blessed we are, I still can’t shake the feeling of being “stuck”. It’s hard to stay inside with a toddler for days on end.

When that feeling of hopelessness starts to creep in, that’s when we like to go outdoors, to a (hopefully) secluded hiking trail. I’ve posted quite a few photos of our family hiking, so I thought I would share some of my best hiking with toddlers tips! Just in case you all feel the urge to get out of the house and go outdoors!

hiking with toddlers
hiking with toddlers

Plan trip + trails

We like to do a good ole’ Google Maps search for “places to hike near us”. Luckily, we live in an area where mountains, lakes and woods aren’t far away. State park websites are a great tool, and we also like the website/app All Trails. They provide detailed hiking trail descriptions and maps, plus reviews from people who have hiked on the trails before.

Choose easy/moderate trails

When hiking with toddlers, it probably isn’t the best idea to do a strenuous hiking trail with lots of tedious terrain. We make sure to read the descriptions of the trails online ahead of time to ensure Hadleigh would be able to walk some. While we use the carrier most of the time, she does like to get out and stretch her legs after a while.

Make it short

You don’t want to be out on a several mile/hours hike with a toddler for a couple reasons. One, they might get bored/tired and listening to the whine in your ear will kind of defeat the purpose of a relaxing hike! Two, in case they accidentally get injured along the trail, it’s nice to not be too far from your parked car for emergency reasons.

Be prepared!

Probably the most important piece of advice I can give. Being unprepared while hiking with a toddler can be awful, and trust me we have done it. I’ve provided a check list for you below so you don’t forget anything while packing for your trip!

Dress appropriately

Check the weather forecast! Bring rain jackets, hats, sunglasses, etc. Anything you would need for the weather. We went for a hike this last January and forgot gloves for Hadleigh! So, we had to make the hike a little shorter.


Pack hiking gear

We really don’t use too much fancy hiking gear, mostly because the trails we choose to go on with a toddler aren’t too strenuous. One item you will definitely want to bring is a good backpack carrier to hold your little one. 

We are obsessed with this hiking carrier from Amazon. Total lifesaver. It’s comfortable, supportive, and grows with your child. It also has plenty of room to store water, diapers, wipes and some light snacks. 10/10 recommend!!

Other items to consider packing would be a portable phone charger, camera, and camera battery.


Pack snacks + drinks

Definitely DO NOT forget the snacks when hiking with toddlers! I don’t know about your child, but mine eats about every hour. It’s also nice to munch on something during breaks. We always like to bring a spill-free snack cup so she can walk around and explore while eating. And it goes without saying to make sure you bring at least one water bottle per person!

Pack toddler necessities

Toddler necessities for us include diapers, wipes, snack cup, water bottle, extra socks/pair of clothes in case she gets into something or falls. Just think about your child and what they would need on your trip!

First aid kit

It’s always wise to bring a few band-aids, alcohol wipes, antibacterial cream and some ace bandages just in case!

Make frequent stops

Your toddler will more than likely get bored if they’re sitting in a carrier for hours. We like to take frequent breaks and let her walk some on her own. Hiking with toddlers is definitely not supposed to be the most physically challenging exercise. It’s more about enjoying the scenery and helping our little ones get to experience nature.

If your kids are older you could even create a little scavenger hunt and have them identify certain objects, plants or animals. Keep it fun!

Related post: Road Trip Tips with Babies

Enjoy the scenery!

With all of the new social distancing rules that have taken over our lives lately, it can be very overwhelming. I truly believe that going outdoors and getting in some light exercise can completely change your mood, and I guarantee it will change your child’s mood too.

So enjoy the beautiful scenery of nature and appreciate what God has given us. There is so much to be thankful for!

hiking with toddlers
hiking with toddlers

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  1. April 1, 2020 / 9:52 am

    Great post. Your tips are very relevant even in the older age groups. My kids are a bit older, but I find we still have to make frequent stops, carry lots of snacks and aim for shorter walks and hikes.

    • laurashelighblog
      April 1, 2020 / 1:02 pm

      that’s great! Thank you!

  2. April 1, 2020 / 10:04 am

    These are some great ideas! I love hiking and definitely want to go hiking with my kids, but haven’t always been sure about hiking with them when they’re this young. You gave me some ideas that would definitely make it better!

    • laurashelighblog
      April 1, 2020 / 1:01 pm

      aw glad I could help! It’s so nice to get some fresh air and change of scenery!

  3. April 1, 2020 / 11:02 am

    Great post. Canโ€™t agree more on dressing appropriately especially with a toddler and making stops . Itโ€™s not easy to carry a toddler ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • laurashelighblog
      April 1, 2020 / 1:01 pm

      yes they definitely get heavy after a while! thank you!

  4. April 1, 2020 / 3:43 pm

    This blog was really informative especially the checklist is very helpful. Thank you for sharing it and yes, loving the photography! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • laurashelighblog
      April 1, 2020 / 5:18 pm

      Glad I could help! And thank you so much!

  5. Kimberlie
    April 1, 2020 / 9:59 pm

    I love the idea of hiking with a toddler, especially for a quality outdoor activity, exercise and family time. I would not have thought about the first aid kit and planning the trail and pace because I have zero experience hiking, so thank you.

    • laurashelighblog
      April 2, 2020 / 7:07 pm

      highly recommend going for it! Glad I could help!

  6. April 2, 2020 / 8:35 pm

    I love this idea. What a great way to get exercise and spend time together! Thanks for sharing.

  7. April 2, 2020 / 10:34 pm

    Wow this is so interesting. I never would have thought of taking a toddler hiking. Great tips

  8. April 4, 2020 / 7:43 am

    I love all of these tips! Also, are you local to Blowing Rock? We live down in the Lake Norman area! Small World !

    • laurashelighblog
      April 4, 2020 / 3:00 pm

      How cool! We live in the Triad area! We visit Blowing Rock/Black Mountain often. LOVE it there!

  9. May 4, 2020 / 12:49 pm

    I really need to find a carrier that suits us, but I donโ€™t want to spend too much on one! Luckily our boy (2 1/2) is a great walker but for some longer hikes it would be nice to have the option. Great tips here, I love the check list!

    Becqui Jean

    • laurashelighblog
      May 4, 2020 / 6:14 pm

      I hear ya! The one I linked is a little pricey but it has been well worth the investment!

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