Hiking is awesome and we couldn’t live in a better suited area for this activity than Fort Collins. Hiking gets us out into the landscape and exploring all that Mother Nature has to offer. It is a physical activity that can be subdued and casual or exhilarating and strenuous.
It’s never too early to infect our kids with the hiking bug either however there are some things to consider when getting started with your little ones. Think about these things before you head out:
- Length of the hike – Consider the age(s) of your child(ren) and their physical ability to walk long distances. After all, once you’ve started you have to get back somehow. Even if it means you carrying someone. You can always work your way up to the ultimate hike.
- Water and snacks – Most parents are sure to have snacks along to curb an ugly mood wherever they go and hiking is certainly no exception to that rule. In fact, bring along more than you think you might need because it could be the difference between lots of laughs or lots of moans and groans on your hike. Water, of course, should be hauled along in mass quantities. Make sure everyone is stopping for a drink periodically, even if they don’t think they are thirsty.
- Be prepared to stop – Taking a break along the way not only allows you to take a deep breath and soak up your surroundings, it also may be completely necessary for fellow hikers with shorter legs and shorter strides. Try to be flexible with your time schedule and just enjoy how the experience unfolds.
- Plan for weather changes – The weather changes quickly around here and as you reach higher elevations, the temperature can drop. Be sure to pack at least a jacket for everyone. As your mom always used to say, it’s better to be safe than sorry! It’s also easier to take layers off to cool down than to try and wrap yourself in leaves from the trees to stay warm if you aren’t prepared.
The choices of where to go hiking are truly endless in Colorado. Since we are talking about the Fort Collins area though, here are a few family friendly hikes that are just a short drive or bike ride away.
- The city of Fort Collins supports a large number of natural areas in and around the city itself. Here is a link to a list of all of them. Bobcat Ridge has a good range of trail options in one spot. There is everything from a 5.4 mile trail that has you climbing up 1,500 feet to a 1.3 mile trek through the valley bottom. There is no charge to enjoy these trails.
- Horsetooth Resevoir is part of the Larimer County Natural Resources Department. Just driving around the area is lovely however there are some nice hiking trails too. Here is a link to a list, including great descriptions, of the trails associated with the area. Some would require a drive to get there however the scenic routes can be just part of the fun. An entrance fee, daily or annual, is required to use these trails and it is good at all Larimer County Parks.
- Your neighborhood. Let’s face it. We just don’t explore our own neighborhoods enough. We are less likely to know the people who live in the houses around us now than we did just a few years ago. A sense of community,within your own neighborhood, can be quite rewarding.
Where is your family’s favorite place to go hiking? Don’t live in Fort Collins? Do an internet search to explore the hiking opportunities in your area and start enjoying the land. Let us know about the hiking spots where you live.