Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

June 17, 2021
Hiking is a great adventure families can share together

Looking for something fun to do with the family? Family hikes build physical strength as well as strong family bonds. What’s a better way to bond as a family than being out in nature? Kids and teens today seem to be as busy as their parents with school, sports, activities, and spending time with friends. And when they do have down-time, it can be hard to break their attention away from the hand-held electronic device. Heading out for a family hike is a great way to take a break from devices and connect with each other and the outdoors. 

Hiking is an opportunity to be together and have an adventure that everyone can enjoy and remember. Exploring the outdoors has the added bonus of boosting physical and mental health. Connecting with the five senses in nature with the sounds, touch, feel, smell, and sights on the trail puts people into the moment and is a great stress reliever. Couldn’t we all use a little less stress? 

On the trail, away from cars and other dangers, children are free to roam, trek up a hill or devise a strategy to cross a stream. Young children can make their own choices, test limits and accomplish what they set out to do. Teenagers can find opportunities to build life skills like resilience, grit, planning and organizing skills.

One of the most important things about hiking with young children is to follow their lead. Keep in mind kids can take a long time to hike a short distance. A kiddie back-pack can help, but you may want to decide to slow your pace and enjoy nature the way a child does. When hiking with the entire family, choose trails that are challenging but doable for everyone. Trails like the Dark Trail, Butterfield Canyon, and Bates Canyon offer different levels of challenge. Lucky for us, Utah is full of hikes for families of all ages and experience.

Intermountain Healthcare suggests these safety tips when hiking with the family:

Know the trail. Cater your hike to the weakest or youngest member.

Use the buddy system. Pair children with adults for added safety.

Take plenty of water and snacks. Especially watch out for kids and infants who can lose fluids quickly.

Watch out for water. Warn children about hazards of flowing or still water.

Gear up and wear sunscreen. 

It’s okay to be noisy. Noise can scatter unwanted critters.

Become a “tree hugger.” Tell kids if they get separated, hug a tree, and stay put.

It’s easy to get started. Hiking is inexpensive. Do you have tennis shoes and comfortable clothing? You’re halfway there. Add in some water (bring plenty), sunscreen, and a few snacks in a backpack and you’re set. A good first aid kit is handy as well.

It doesn’t take long to learn how to get started hiking and finding trails that are waiting for you and your family to explore. Start slow, have fun, and let yourself get carried away in nature. The iPhones and Nintendo will be waiting for your kids when you get back.

Maren Wright Voss, ScD, is a professional practice extension assistant professor of health and wellness at the USU Extension – Tooele County Office, which is located inside the Tooele County Health Department Building, 151 N. Main, Tooele. She can be reached at 435-277-2409 and at

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