How to Hike: 8 Essential Hiking Tips from an 8-Year-Old

We have a guest post today!  Macey is a 3rd grader who has been hiking since she was a baby. Since moving to Colorado last year, she has been hiking more than ever and learning even more about enjoying time on the trails.  She chose “how to hike” as her topic for a school project.  She thought everyone should learn how to hike and wanted to share her hiking tips with our readers – and we couldn’t agree more.

When she’s not exploring the local trails, you will find Macey hanging out with her friends, playing with her dolls or Legos, or doing crafts.

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[Note from the editor: this post has not been edited – these are 100% Macey’s words]

overlooking a lake on a hike
An 8-year-old provided all these hiking tips!

Macey’s Hiking Tips

Chapter 1 picking a trail

People hike for many reasons. Some people like to hike to see water, views or even nature. When you hike you should stop make no noise and enjoy the nature around you. If you don’t have mountains where you live then go up to somewhere where you hiked before right before sunset or sunrise. You should look up in the sky and see the beautiful colors.

If you hike in the winter time, when you go to the mountain you hike on, look on the other mountains beside the mountain you are on and then look at the glittery snow on the mountains.

Other people hike to see water when you hike you might find a creek. Go ahead take off your shoes and socks and play in the water you might also find a waterfall. I don’t know about you but waterfalls remind me about mermaids. When you find a waterfall you want to be careful, if you are not careful around a waterfall you could fall down it.

People also hike to see nature. Nature is all around you but it is more beautiful when you hike. Hiking is the most beautiful nature. The nature in hiking includes flowers, trees, and even sometimes snow. When you go hiking you never want to leave a trace. Don’t leave your food crumbs or don’t leave anything that does not belong in nature and try not to step on flowers, grass, or anything that is growing.

Chapter 2 clothing

When you go hiking you need to make sure you have the right clothing. The first pair of clothing you need is  Winter wear. Like hats, gloves and big jackets. Even though it might be warm it is always going to be cold in the mountains.

The next set of clothing you need is warm pants, shorts, and socks. The reason you need all this stuff is because it keeps you warm. You need pants and shorts because just in case you get to areas that are cold or warm.  

The last pair of clothing you need is layers. For instance raincoats and sweatpants and sweatshirts. Practically any clothing. You do not want to go hiking without layers. If you go hiking without layers you would be cold or way too hot. Always make sure you have the right clothing for hiking. When you know it’s going to be cold hiking make sure you wear a base layer. The best base layers are when you have the thumb holes that keep you warm and protect you from getting frostbite. You also want to pack thick and thin gloves. You don’t know if it’s going to be really cold or just a little cold. But even if it’s not going to be cold make sure you just pack small pair of gloves.

hiking the switchbacks on a mountain trail

Chapter 3 nutrition and water

When you go hiking you need to make sure you have the right nutrition. This food might sound crazy, It is candy. It is good because it is a simple carbohydrate. You also need to make sure you have the right amount of water. You need at least 8 oz of water. Okay okay let’s get back to the food. You are going to need a healthy lunch with protein. You might pack a salad or a salad wrap. Anything that you think has enough protein. Protein includes garbanzo beans, turkey, and chicken. (Find more ideas for hiking snacks here)

Now let’s talk about some water. Gatorade, Propel and even normal water are all great to have for hiking. Sometimes you pack some water that is not really good for you. Vitamin water is sometimes not healthy for hiking. It has more sugar than you think. Like pink vitamin water can have a ton of sugar. Propel is a really good energy drink even sometimes you think it’s not healthy it’s actually pretty healthy. Gatorade is a healthy energy drink it helps you get energized when you hike up big hills, but it also has a lot of sugar.

Make sure you have everything you need for nutrition and water. Also if you have stuff you need to throw away bring a trash bag and a carabiner and hook a trash bag to your backpack so when you’re done with your food throw it in and when you’re done, back at the parking lot throw it away. If you forget to bring a trash bag don’t throw your trash on the ground, hold it or find a place to put it but not on the ground and throw it away once you’re done hiking.

snack break with a mountain view
An apple is a great hiking snack

Chapter 4 shoes

When you go hiking you need to make sure you wear the right shoes. You don’t want to wear sneakers you want to wear hiking boots. You don’t want to wear thick or thin socks you want to you want in between socks.

The last thing for shoes is extra shoes you don’t want sweaty feet do you? Hiking boots are really important to wear because it gives you the right support. If you don’t wear hiking boots then you won’t have the right support. Like sneakers, those only go up to about the edge of your feet those are not good. If you’re on a really steep Mountain make sure you have really grippe and tight shoes and make sure you do not have the ones that you can just tighten make sure you have laces. You can get the right boots at Rei and any other hiking stuff you need.

Let’s talk about shoes you don’t want. You don’t want sneakers they don’t give you the right support. You also don’t want shoes that you just have to tighten you want really tight lace shoes. If you want to learn how to tie them correctly you can go to Rei they will tell you how to tie them correctly to stay safe hiking.

Chapter 5 beware

When you go hiking you need to beware of lots of things. You are going to want to bring whistles, not a yelling voice. You also need Bear Bells not a regular bell.

This one is very important you want parents to hike with kids not just kids.

You need to beware of a lot of things including poisonous snakes, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and stuff that can really hurt you. Make sure you stay out of keep out signs a lot of people have died during those because they were not being safe.  

If you do see any of those vicious animals pick up kids do not yell and back away slowly. If you run they will chase after you and you never want to throw anything at them including sticks, rocks, pebbles, and sand. Make sure to have bear spray with you. That actually keeps bears away from you and you away from bears.

In summer you need to Beware of the bugs you don’t know what the bugs have been in and you don’t know if they’re poisonous. Always pack bug spray or even those bug bracelets and you can put your keys on them or cover your keys with a plastic bag and put bug spray over the bag.

Make sure you stay safe with all the animals.

jumping over a creek on a hiking trail
The most important of all hiking tips: have fun!!

Chapter 6 safety

You always need to stay safe when hiking. Here are a few tips.

You need a first aid kit, Band-Aids, bug spray, proper shoes, backpacks, and water. You don’t want stuff that will weigh you down though. Make sure you also bring sunscreen.

Here’s a tip. don’t bring stuff you don’t need! Including books, extra food, too many water bottles and more shoes.

Chapter 7 national parks

You might want to hike at national parks. Here are some I recommend.  

Rocky Mountain National Park, Gulf Island, Estes Park, Mammoth, and Yosemite. 

National parks are pretty great but don’t just choose one. You want to choose one that you will like. Yosemite is great for rock climbing. Estes Park is great for hiking. And Rocky Mountain is great for exploring. So whatever mood you’re in find a national park that is good for you.

running around the red rocks of Canyonlands National Park
Utah has excellent national parks, too (this one is Canyonlands)

Chapter 8 conclusion

I hope that you learned all about hiking. Make sure that you stay safe and healthy hiking! Have fun!

What are your favorite hiking tips?  We’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Click below to save Macey’s best hiking tips on Pinterest!

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