As a kid, I thought spending time on trails was part of everyone’s childhood. I was a teenager before I realized that not everyone spends their childhood climbing mountains or sleeping under the stars. Connecting with nature as a kid was an incredible gift that I didn’t truly appreciate until later in life. I now realize the early childhood adventures my parents prioritized shaped my outlook and set the trajectory of my life. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Likewise, now as a new father, I’m excited to share the gift of hiking and outdoor adventure with my daughter. Most of my favorite memories as a kid involved the great outdoors, and I’m already dreaming of all the adventures and experiences I want to share with my wife and daughter.
Finding support on trail through community
In addition to instigating my own family’s adventures, I work to coordinate and promote adventures and trail service projects for American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®. I’m excited to pass along the gift of outdoor adventure and cultivate trail stewards by connecting individuals across the country to their local trails. Taking place on the first Saturday in June, National Trails Day® is a day of public events aimed at getting people on trail and improving public lands across the country. Thousands of hikers, bikers, paddlers, equestrians, trail clubs, federal and local agencies, land trusts and businesses come together in partnership to advocate for, maintain, clean up and introduce others to public lands and trails.
With millions of media impressions, National Trails Day® inspires people to explore local trails. It’s a great opportunity to share the gift of hiking with individuals who might not otherwise get out on the trail. Hike it Baby plays a critical role by connecting and supporting hundreds of young families in celebration of National Trails Day®, and has, for several years, organized hikes in dozens of locations across the U.S.
I had more than 10,000 trail miles under my belt before my wife and I had a child; however, taking a baby out into the wild surfaced new fears and insecurities about the great outdoors. For that reason, learning from families who had ventured with kids before us empowered my new family to hit the trail. And Hike it Baby has built a beautiful community and is an incredible resource for families who want to get outside but don’t know where or how to start.
Getting the most out of National Trails Day®
Sharing immersive outdoor experiences with kids is an incredible gift. For that reason, let’s share this gift with more young families on National Trails Day®.
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of National Trails Day® on June 1.
- Look for a Hike it Baby hike near you.
- Invite friends or neighbors to join you. Previous hiking experience isn’t required! National Trails Day® is a great excuse to try something new and hit the trail.
- Take the pledge to leave the trail better than you found it and begin teaching your kids the importance of caring for open spaces.
- Finally, whatever you do to celebrate National Trails Day®, we want to hear your story. Please tag @AmericanHiking and use #NationalTrailsDay, #HikeItBaby and #FamilyTrailGuide in your social media posts. You’ll be entered to win gear prizes for the National Trails Day® photo contest on Instagram. Hint: trail babies are often in the finalists.
Will you be getting out on National Trails Day®? We’d love to hear your plans in the comments below!
- Finding a hiking community – How to encourage others to hike with you
- How to teach your kids to be kind in nature
- 8 Ways to motivate your family to get outside all year
Photos courtesy of Wesley Trimble.
Wesley Trimble is the Program Outreach and Communication Manager for American Hiking Society, Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering all to enjoy, share and preserve the hiking experience.