We’ve had quite a “warm” winter in Lake Hartwell Country, despite the artic chill we had over Christmas. But it does intend to get colder over the next few months and that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! Hiking with your family is one of the greatest activities you can do together. From the sweet sounds of nature to the crisp air that eases your elevation gain, here are a few ways to make a winter hike enjoyable with little ones.
First things first, plan your hike the night before. If you are hoping to get an early start on a hike, this makes it easier to get out the door with a toddler if you have all the essentials ready to go. Choose a hike that’s easy on your feet, as we know hiking with toddlers involves some extra manual labor. A great trail in Lake Hartwell Country is the Lakeside Trail at Table Rock State Park. It’s a 1.9-mile loop along the edges of Lake Oolenoy and offers stunning views of the mountain.
A great way for toddlers to enjoy the trail is by being carried in a hiking carrier or backpack. This allows them to enjoy the view, take a nap, and is great for backup if they scrape a knee or end up throwing a fit. However, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t walk at all! One of the joys of hiking is being out in nature. It is hard for a toddler to fully experience that without putting his or her own two feet on the ground and being able to stop and pick up a rock or smell a flower. When the conditions allow it safely, let them hike the trail. It is good exercise and good training for more hikes in the coming years.
You’ll need to pack lots of layers! We cannot stress enough that on any given day in South Carolina, it could be freezing cold in the morning and springtime in the afternoon. Wearing layers offers a sweet relief for when you hit a sunny patch of trail, or your toddler spills some juice. Hats and sunglasses are also recommended, and an extra pair of pants in case of damp days and windy conditions.
Other necessary supplies proper for hiking are sunscreen, water, food and snacks, bug spray, and wet wipes. Things can get pretty sticky when you have a toddler, it’s best to be prepared for anything. Diapers and pull-ups are one of those necessities. There are proper trash cans to dispose of dirty diapers and trash you accumulate on the trail if you are hiking in a state park. Acceptable footwear is also essential to hiking success. Especially if you plan to carry your toddler on your back, you need boots with support and grip to keep everyone safe.
Hiking with a toddler can be challenging. Start with easier hikes to learn your child’s interests and tolerance. Also, remember every child is different and will respond differently to a new activity like hiking. Some may be more adventurous while others will be more timid at the exact same age. You could have a pro on your hands one day, and a meltdown another.
If you’re ready to plan your next hike with the family, visit lakehartwellcountry.com and find your trail. If you need assistance or have questions, give us a call. We’ll help you gear up for the challenge- Goldfish and all.