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Tips for hiking with children: How it works!

For your child to become a hiking fox, fun, adventure and variety must not be missing. Hiking is certainly one of the most beautiful ways for children to be out and about in nature. With these tips and motivational recommendations, the hiking season is sure to be a happy experience for young and old alike!

Here is a photo of my 6-year-old son and me on the Skye Trail, a 120km long long-distance hiking trail in Scotland!

Mit meinem sechs-jährigen Sohn am Skye Trail in Schottland


1. the right age

2. how long and how far

3. where is a good place to go hiking with children?

4. mental preparation for tours

5. How di I keep children happy when hiking?

6. the right equipment for hiking

7. what is the best way to transport children on a hike?

8. conclusion

The right age for hiking

You can take babies on hikes from around 6 months of age. Short and easy tours are suitable, preferably without metres in altitude, mainly on gravel paths and always with a place to stop for refreshments. Infants between 2 and 4 years of age can already manage a small part of the hike themselves. At the age of 6, longer tours with considerable altitude gain are possible. Tip: As always in life, it is best to start small and increase slowly!

Wie lange können Kinder wandern

How long and how far can children hike?

For relaxed hikes with children, the German Hiking Association recommends as a rule of thumb: path length = age times 1.5. According to this rule, four year olds can walk 6 km, six year olds about 9 km. In addition, every 100 metres of altitude is counted as one kilometre. If your child is just starting out on a hike, this is a good recommendation.

In my opinion, very experienced children can cover 10-16 km per day, depending on their physical condition and the amount of altitude they have to climb. My son already covered 12 km and 500 m at the age of 6. Example: 12 km plus 500 metres of altitude equals 17 km. However, we worked towards this goal. Please also bear in mind that your child's backpack should only be minimally heavy. In our case, it had a maximum of 2 kilos.

wie weit können Kinder wandern

When planning, you must therefore take into account the distance, altitude, metres of descent and the weight of the rucksack. Other important parameters can be found in this article: Calculating the walking time when hiking!

Please do not forget that you will be walking much slower with children. The slowest determines the walking pace. You can calculate the walking time from hiking guides or signposts according to the Austrian Hiking Association x 1.5. In addition to the pure walking time, you also have to plan for considerably more breaks.

If you have children in a carrier, you should bear in mind that they do not want to be carried all the time. The sun can also be extremely hard on children. Approach this slowly and gradually increase the length of the tour.

Wo kann ich mit Kinder gut wandern gehen

Where can I go hiking with children?

While hikers and mountaineers tend to prefer secluded tours, the exact opposite is true for hikes with children! For me, the following criteria are important for a relaxed hike with children:

Accessibility: Highly frequented tours with many huts and playgrounds are best, and preferably close by. Children do best with short journey times of no more than one hour.

Gondolas: Sometimes mountain hikes with children are not yet possible. Gondolas therefore offer you an easy way to reach the peaks in a relaxed way. The ride in the gondola is also a great experience for the children. Alternatively, you can just ride to the middle station and then hike the rest.

Playgrounds: Whether alpine pastures or adventure playgrounds, they are the top destination on any hike. It is usually very easy to find out if there is a playground at a hut or hotel. Often the playgrounds are also marked on the maps.

Spielplätze beim wandern

Huts: Actually self-explanatory, but I'll mention them anyway. Huts are always popular with children, after all, you can very often buy an ice cream there ;)

Stream/lake/waterfalls: Water is always great. Children are thrilled by waterfalls, lakes or streams. If possible, I try to include water in the tour.

Tent: Not to everyone's taste, of course, but an absolute highlight for children. Please note that wild camping is not legal everywhere!

Weiterwandern mit Kinder

Mental preparation for tours

The children will gain additional motivation if you make hiking palatable to them as an adventure or a heroic story. For example: The Vikings discovered many countries and had to hike a lot. Sometimes they encountered dragons or forest fairies. Some of them also had to build a shelter or look for food during their wanderings. Come up with some ideas here, the children will love it. I start this weeks before the tour. Tip: A good film such as Disney's "Call of the Wild" or "Togo: The Sled Dog" can increase the anticipation immensely.

How do I keep children happy when hiking?

The most important things are, of course, beautiful paths, exciting destinations, great experiences, lots of adventure and lots of knowledge gathering. Children don't need a summit, they look for the mysterious in nature.

But first of all, the right hiking equipment works wonders! After all, children want to be perceived as real hikers. Good hiking shoes, hiking poles, a hiking hat and a comfortable hiking backpack on which you can hang all kinds of equipment, such as a headlamp, torch, compass or bow and arrow, should be available to the children. Children also love a cover for hiking maps that they can hang around their neck.

On the way, you can also teach the children how to navigate with a compass. Tip: You can get free A4 hiking maps to print out from "Outdooractive" or "Bergfex".

Long-distance hiking trails in Europe: 90 routes, all countries

Wild & adventurous: these are the most beautiful long-distance hiking trails in Europe.

In between, offer the children the following motivational incentives:

Binoculars: The children find them incredibly exciting. My son loves to watch other hikers on a high mountain or summit. I recommend the compact and lightweight binoculars from ZIRBITZ.

Camera: Photo and film always go! I like to edit a film afterwards. Between the tours we watch the films more often, which increases the desire for the next hike.

Telling stories: Preferably about favourite heroes or a computer game. It also makes sense to ask questions like: What would they do in Minecraft now?

Impart knowledge: You can impart a lot of knowledge to the children while hiking. Here are some examples: Where does the water from a waterfall come from? Why are mountains so high? How did the forest come into being? Also tell them about the flora and fauna. You can also use a small tree or herb book to help you. Children love this!

Sing: It doesn't have to be hiking songs. Just humming or singing your favourite songs will give them extra motivation. You can find a book on children's lids here!

Games: We like to play: I see I see what you don't see, Arithmetic King, True or False and Make Rhymes. *He's a wanderer like no other* :)

Building: Stone men, a hut made of branches, a bench made of rough twigs or a bridge over a little stream. Children love to build things. For my son, the absolute highlight was building a walking stick, a slingshot and a bow and arrow!

Tour book: At the next hut we'll get the next tour stamp! Hooray!

Reward: The classic reward like ice cream, sweets or some TV time after the hike is never wrong.

Wanderausrüstung Kinder

The right equipment for hiking

Comfortable and well-fitting clothing is also very important for children. After all, they want to feel like real hikers and be perceived as such.

Hiking boots: Waterproof hiking boots with a good tread are important. Comfortable hiking socks may also be worthwhile.

Clothing: Clothing must be comfortable, allowed to get dirty and breathable. Trousers should be elastic, wind- and water-repellent and breathable. Tip: Children tend to get cold during breaks and when they are tired.

Onion principle: As with adults, it makes sense for children to dress according to the onion principle, i.e. with several layers. Of course, a change of clothes is also very important.

Sun hat: You should always have a sun hat with you. If the children like it, they should also have sunglasses. A scarf and a cap are also useful.

Carrying children: Remember that children in carriers do not move themselves and therefore get cold much more quickly. Also make sure that the clothes are long enough to protect your child from the sun.

Food and drink: Make sure there is enough food and water for all hikers. Also remind your child to drink enough.

Mini-pharmacy: Sun cream, plasters, disinfectant and a rescue bivouac are all part of the basic equipment in my opinion.

Children's walking sticks: Are usually not necessary on easier routes. However, my son uses them with great enthusiasm. In the meantime, he even has his own hiking poles especially for children.

"Only where you have been on foot have you really been". Quote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Wandern mit Kinder


At the end of the day, the important thing is that the kids are not exposed to any danger, have fun hiking and take away positive memories!!! Have a great time and good luck ;)

As always, I would be very happy to receive feedback on one of my channels.

You are also welcome to leave a comment here.

Foto des Inhabers Hikingfex

Hello, I am Christian, the chief globetrotter of this Site and an enthusiastic adventurer, hiker and filmmaker. I love to explore new paths and inspire people with them, and I love to share my hiking knowledge with you! You can also find my videos on YouTube! On my blog you can find tips for beginners and professionals on the greatest and most beautiful hiking tours there are. I want to encourage people to explore the world as a hiker, whether in the countryside, through the forest or in the mountains. True to the motto: If you haven't hiked, you haven't seen the world,

On my blog, I also write about hiking gear, the right summit training and nature conservation, as well as tips and information about hiking.

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26 abr 2023
Obtuvo 5 de 5 estrellas.

Wow, 6 years old and 120 km 😛 very nice

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