Tips for Hiking with a Toddler

My husband and I were complete beginners when it came to hiking, let alone with a toddler!  What things will we need?  Will she enjoy herself?  On a whim Friday night we set our alarms for 5:30 am for the next day and went to bed.  Saturday morning came to a quick, rough start.  Toddler didn’t understand why we were waking her up so darn early!  The rest of the morning was actually quite fun, but here are a few pointers I wish I would have known beforehand.  Keep reading for tips on how to hike with your toddler!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link*


Proper Equipment

My toddler is very independent and so I assumed she would love wandering along the trail with us looking at flowers, watching for birds.  Nope.  She wanted nothing to do with the hike (at first).  My husband and I ended up taking turns carrying her on our shoulders.  I felt like I had an amazing work out, although as soon as we got home I started researching hiking carriers for toddlers.  I came across Kelty Kids.  This brand has several different models and we settled on a blue one.  The straps are adjustable, there is a sunshade, and there’s even room on the side to pack away things like first aid kits, snacks, water, etc.  This isn’t a flimsy child carrier, it is amazing quality and durable.  I highly recommend investing in one of these backpacks as the price is worth it!

Change of Clothes

Toddlers are prone to accidents and getting dirty.  We were still potty training my toddler on our first trip, and she had an accident.  We brought back up pull ups and diapers but she had to go without pants!  (not recommended)  Luckily, it was towards the end of our hike.  On our third hike we took it up a notch and hiked to Cecret Lake in Alta, Utah.  You end up at a lake at the end of the trail.  Toddler was so excited.  She got a little close to the water and ended up walking through a bunch of mud.  Her shoe got caught.  She then proceeded to sit down in the mud to get her shoe.  (Face palm).  An extra pair of pants, shirt, socks, underwear, and shoes are essential.  Don’t forget the diapers and wipes if your child isn’t potty trained.  Bring a long a plastic bag to store dirty clothes 🙂

Snacks, Snacks, Snacks!

Water, gatorade, and “toddler trail mix” have been a hit!  I try to make the toddler trail mix interesting by switching it up week to week.  A favorite is a combo of goldfish crackers, dried fruit, and m&m’s.  You can totally customize this to your toddlers likes or even dislikes!  Mine used to hate dried fruit and now she loves it.


Safety MUST’s: First aid kit, sunscreen, antibacterial wipes (our favorite is by Babyganics), and bug spray.  It’s always good to talk to your child before the trip and explain why we need to bring these things with us.  And let them help you pack.


Let’s be real… children get bored!  They will enjoy the hike but sometimes need a break to switch things up.  Take breaks for snack time and have everyone share their favorite part of the hike so far.  You can also search Pinterest for some fun nature scavenger hunt ideas.  Mine is below.



I hope this was helpful for someone!  If you have any great hiking tips for kids please leave me a comment!  Also, please enjoy this free printable below 😉 




Please follow and like us:

10 comments on “How to Hike With A Toddler”

  1. In the future I would love to take my son hiking once he’s older. My best friend use to take her son hiking when he was a toddler. I wonder if she still has her carrier… any way there are so many places to explore in my state…. so maybe one day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *