COVID-19 disrupted life and left many of us aching to get back out hiking and enjoying nature. And while the virus isn’t going anywhere soon, quarantine restrictions are slowly easing up in many parts of the country. As this happens, getting back to your regularly scheduled hiking plans will likely be a part of the process. Need ideas on how to navigate this new post-quarantine landscape? Never fear, we’ve got you covered.

1. Hike Less Popular Trails 

Social distancing is an important aspect of maintaining the slow spread of COVID-19. Opting to hike less popular trails will not only let you lace those hiking boots up but will enable you to explore new areas, while also keeping yourself and others a little safer. Use the Family Trail Guide to find new-to-you trails. 

2. Go Out When the Weather isn’t “Ideal”

Every hiker knows that trails are the busiest on the gorgeous 70-degree, partial sunny days. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. If this is the most popular time for nature exploration, then choosing to hike in less than ideal weather can offer you the ability to easily maintain your six-foot bubble, while also hiking your favorite trail. Review these tips for hiking in the rain with kids.

3. Explore Large Open Areas

Looking for another way to maintain your six-foot bubble around other outdoor enthusiasts? Exploring large open areas with multiple trail options, as opposed to selecting a place with a single trail, enables social distancing measures. Some areas to consider are wildlife preserves, state game areas, and Bureau of Land Management land. 

three boys hiking at sunset along the beach

4. Use Activities as Motivation to Get Outside 

Sometimes the idea of getting outside can be overwhelming and sometimes one or more family members need a little motivation. Outdoor activities, like scavenger hunts, geocaching, or themed hikes, can be all the inspiration one needs to get outside and explore. This L.L. Bean scavenger hunt is the perfect motivator for our little hikers.

5. Adopt New Hiking Etiquette

It is often easy to maintain social distancing guidelines while on the trail, but not always. Consider carrying a mask with you and wear it when you are near others. Pro-tip, a bandana or neck gaiter can be used as a mask, offers some UV protection, and, when wet, are great for cooling down. Another post-COVID-19 hiking etiquette you may consider is to avoid using the parking lot or trailhead as a place to prepare for your hike (such as eating a snack or double-checking your backpack). Instead, opt to do these things before you arrive to limit your time in the more crowded areas.

It’s been difficult and strange adjusting to this COVID-19 world. Getting outside and absorbing all that nature has to offer is fantastic for our mental health, but it is important to try and adjust our hiking expectations while we find our new post-pandemic normal.

Hike it Baby branches are keeping their communities active during the COVID-19 pandemic by hosting virtual hikes and activities that can be completed by your family in your backyard or local outdoor space. Find your local Hike it Baby branch and join their Facebook group to create a connection with like-minded parents and caregivers and stay up-to-date on current virtual events as well as future in-person hikes when we can once again join each other on the trail.

About Hike it Baby
Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Human.

Editors Note:
We hope you enjoyed reading this article from Hike it Baby. We’re working hard to provide our community with content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain you.
But content is not free. It’s built on the hard work and dedication of writers, editors, and volunteers. We do not make this ask lightly, but if you are able to afford it, make a donation, and become a Hike it Baby member.  A membership also makes a great gift for that new parent in your life. We make an investment in developing premium content to make it easier for families with young children to connect with nature and each other. If you can, please make a contribution and help us extend our reach.

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