Blog
Categories
© Tirol Werbung / Rodler Ilvy
Food & Drink
© Tirol Werbung / Hörterer Lisa
Companies
© Bert Heinzelmeier
People
© Tirol Werbung / Schreyer David
Architecture
© Tirol Werbung / Aichner Bernhard
Arts & Culture
© Tirol Werbung / Moore Casey
Recommendations
© Tirol Werbung / Haindl Ramon
Feel Good
© Tirol Werbung / Webhofer Mario
Nature
© Tirol Werbung / Herbig Hans
Family
© Tirol Werbung / Schwarz Jens
Bits & Pieces
© Tirol Werbung / Neusser Peter
Sports
Jagdhausalmen Alpine Pastures, Defereggen, East Tirol, Austria, Europe
Specials

“I can’t go any further!” How to Persuade Kids to Enjoy Hiking

Updated on 29.06.2016 in Family

Ort: Wilder Kaiser
Ort: Wilder Kaiser

Love hiking? Got kids? So what could be better than a morning spent trucking down the trails? Not much…until the whining starts: “I can’t go any further!” “My feet are hurting!” Little legs tire, tummies rumble, kids start to grumble. When they reach that point in a hike where one of them starts to whine like this, you better have some tricks up your sleeve. In search of secrets for turning kids into enthusiastic hikers—and to avoid the “how much farther” syndrome, I asked around—here is my Q&A with my colleague Florian, who voluntarily works for the Austrian Alpinist Association, running mountain camps for kids aged 8 to 16. He also loves to take his wife Conni and his eight year old twins Paul and Lorena out on hikes frequently.

Florian shares the lessons he’s learned over the years with hiking with his family and with kids during his camps: He tells me all about overnight hikes on huts, adequate gear and equipment for little ones and how to make hiking fun for his children:

Florian, at what age did you first take your children hiking?
We started taking the kids with us very young – we put them in backpack carriers before they could walk, and once they were walking, we would take them out of the backpack and let them run up the trail until they tired out. We started out doing real hikes when they were about four years old.

How long of a trip were your first hikes?
Out first hikes were 1 to 2.5 hour trips with about 300 to 600 meter elevation gain. Some trips took longer, because we had to stop by a brook along the way, playing in the water and building dams. Children are fascinated with water, so having a destination with water involved is always a great motivator – such as the trail across Ehnbachklamm Gorge into Brunntal Valley near Zirl. Our favourite starter hikes are the one from Grawa Alm to Sulzenau Alm (along the Grawa Waterfall Walk), and the trip from the top terminal Serles Lifts atop Gleinser Jöchl Col—the cross on its summit is a worthy reward for kids at the end.

Go on hikes that have a worthy reward at the end, or at half way along. (Photo Credit: Maren Krings, Tirol Werbung)Go on hikes that have a worthy reward at the end, or at half way along. (Photo Credit: Maren Krings, Tirol Werbung)

How do you choose trails for kids?
Kids are easily bored on manicured trails. That’s why I always ensure that it’s a hike that is interesting for them – creeks, waterfalls, rocks and wildlife usually keep them occupied. One of our first longer hikes took us from Oberiss to Franz Senn Hut. The walk involves a couple of rock scrambles and was easy and interesting enough for the kids.

And what to you do when parts of the trail are less interesting and your kids are overwhelmed by boredom?
If they start to whine en route, I keep it interesting by telling them stories, preferably folk tales from the place in which we are walking. The more you engage them, the less focused they are on how tough the walk is. And reaching the destination, they are surprised just how much they were able to do—and how much fun it was.

For first time overnight hikers, what are your recommendations?
If you want to spend a night on a mountain shelter with kids, I recommend trying the above-mentioned trip to Franz Senn Hut. Another worthwhile option is the trail from Oberbach to Solsteinhaus Lodge. To get to Oberbach, you can either take the “Dörfertaxi” shuttle service or walk there from Hochzirl. (The Alpinist Association’s Brochure “Hut Walks with Kids” is full of practical tips on how to plan memorable, outdoor, family adventures. German only).

Sulzenau Hut in Stubai Valley is one of 44 Tirol-based huts that were kid tested & kid approved by the Austrian Alpinist Association in their Brochure named „Hut Walks with Kids“. Nearby you will find the WhiteWaterWalk, boulders for climbing and superb rock climbing terrain with practice area, geocaches, a Flying Fox zipline and a slackline. (Photo: Frank Bauer, Tirol Werbung)Sulzenau Hut in Stubai Valley is one of 44 Tirol-based huts that were kid tested & kid approved by the Austrian Alpinist Association in their Brochure named „Hut Walks with Kids“. Nearby you will find the WhiteWaterWalk, boulders for climbing and superb rock climbing terrain with practice area, geocaches, a Flying Fox zipline and a slackline. (Photo: Frank Bauer, Tirol Werbung)

Do kids actually like spending a night on a hut?
Taking kids on a hut trip is an amazing adventure. For most kids, no matter how young or old, something magical happens when they get to a mountain hut. Give them a sleeping bag and a dormitory and they are in heaven. Throw in some great company and interesting stories and you’ve got an adventure which will be remembered and cherished for years to come.

How do you beat cabin fever on rainy days?
Naturally, hiking with kids is much more fun when the sun is shining. Nevertheless, we also head out if it starts to rain. It’s all about keeping them engaged and interested. Playing cards and board games together on the hut are possibly some of the family hut trip’s sweetest moment.

Taking kids on a hut trip is an amazing adventure. (Photo Credit: Jens Schwarz, Tirol Werbung)Taking kids on a hut trip is an amazing adventure. (Photo Credit: Jens Schwarz, Tirol Werbung)

What “gear” does a child need for hiking?
The challenge of footwear is one of the greatest. Kit them out with quality hiking shoes that are waterproof and have thick shock-absorbing soles, and good tread. As for clothes, we don’t use functional or moisture wicking underwear. Ordinary shirts just work fine for kids. However, in the mountains, where the weather can go from sunny to snowing in a matter of minutes, you always need to have a good waterproof jacket and a cap. Of course, protecting children from the sun while hiking is very important so bring sunscreen and sunhats. Sunglasses are great, however, my kids never liked to wear them. They never carried backpacks when they were small; my wife and I carried the load. Naturally, on our Alpinist Association trips, each child has to carry his or her own backpack.

The Alpinist Association has released a Brochure named “Hut Walks with Kids” that is full of practical tips on how to plan memorable, outdoor, family adventures on Tirol’s mountain huts. The Brochure is available in German only.

For more tips on trip planning, Hiking with Kids offers a variety of fun ways to reconnect with nature and make a memorable family trip.

When he is not working, Michael Gams is out exploring this beautiful country, hiking, mountain biking, freeriding and ski touring to the most beautiful spots in Tirol.

Last article from Michael
Kufsteinerland, Erl, Hotel Blaue Quelle, Fisch
Updated on 17.03.2021 in Food & Drink
Five taverns with homegrown produce
3 min reading time
stubaier-gletscher-3s_03
Updated on 16.03.2021 in Bits & Pieces
Bye Bye T-Bar, Hello Tri-Cable Gondola.
4 min reading time
Axamer Lizum
Updated on 09.02.2021 in Sports
How to Be a Better Skier: 9 Ways to Improve Your Skiing
10 min reading time
The record breaking 406 meter long suspension footbridge connects remarkable Ehrenberg Castle Ensemble with the remains of the 17th-century Roman Fortress Claudia in the market town of Reutte at a dizzying height of 110 meters. (Photography: Naturparkregion Reutte)
Updated on 29.10.2020 in Recommendations
21 Reasons Why You Should Never Visit Tirol
2 min reading time
Scheffau/Kaisergebirge/Wilder Kaiser, Hintersteiner See
Updated on 14.12.2018 in Nature
Five Hikes for Water Lovers
2 min reading time
Snowshoeing in Hochfilzen, Pillerseetal Valley. (Photo: Tirol Werbung)
Updated on 10.12.2018 in Recommendations
Top Ten Places for a White Christmas in Tirol
4 min reading time
Florentine_Fuerst@Sonnenaufgangswanderung_Itter_-_Kitzbueheler_Alpen
Updated on 31.10.2018 in Recommendations
11 Perfect Shots: Sunrise in the Mountains
4 min reading time
Schloss Tratzberg (c) W9 Studios, Tirol Werbung
Updated on 22.10.2018 in Arts & Culture
Discover the Myths and Legends of Tratzberg Castle
3 min reading time
DSC03276 (2014_07_24 17_33_49 UTC)
Updated on 01.10.2018 in Recommendations
I am Off. To Vent, the Mountaineering Village
4 min reading time
Ramolhaus
Updated on 14.08.2018 in Architecture
Five Alpine Association Huts for Architecture Lovers
4 min reading time
Portrait Vreni Meijerink (c) Bert Heinzlmeier
Updated on 31.07.2018 in People
One of 757 thousand: How Vreni from Holland came to Tirol
6 min reading time
Maeusebussard-1500px-1024×683
Updated on 27.06.2018 in Nature
Out in the Wild. Wildlife Photography Stories from the Field
7 min reading time
Great Trails_Soelden_Leiterberg
Updated on 19.05.2018 in Sports
Five Epic Singletrack Trails
3 min reading time
Bernhard Neumann_Olperer_Gipfelgrat
Updated on 09.05.2018 in People
Summit Stories: Bernhard Neumann and Olperer Mountain
9 min reading time
Ötztal, Niederthai, Le Miracle, Niederthai
Updated on 08.05.2018 in Sports
Five Climbing Routes for Total Rock Jocks
4 min reading time
Updated on 04.04.2018 in Family
Five Family Adventures
3 min reading time
Kilian Scheiber_Wildspitze Portrait
Updated on 12.03.2018 in People
Summit Stories: Kilian Scheiber and Wildspitze Mountain
10 min reading time
St. Anton am Arlberg_Galzigbahn
Updated on 20.02.2018 in Recommendations
A Day In The Snow: Skiing St. Anton.
11 min reading time
Updated on 04.12.2017 in Family
Winter holiday through a photographer’s lens
1 min reading time
Photo Credit: Tirol Werbung/Peter Neusser
Updated on 05.07.2017 in Sports
10 Reasons Why You Should Try Canyoning
3 min reading time
Stunning views of Venet Massif, ringed by Swiss stone pine forest. (Photo Credit: Eva Thöni)
Updated on 04.07.2017 in Sports
The Best Fall Hikes in Tirol
7 min reading time
Portrait_Sara_(c) Carlos Blanchard_S34B5610
Updated on 03.07.2017 in People
One Out of 757 Thousand: How Sara came to Tirol from Sweden
9 min reading time
Bergfuehrer_Matthias Wurzer_Gipfel Großglockner (c) Tirol Werbung_Jens Schwarz
Updated on 28.06.2017 in People
Summit Stories: Matthias Wurzer and Großglockner Mountain
9 min reading time
Left behind the snowcapped spire is our destination: The Summit of Großvenediger.
Updated on 27.06.2017 in People
Summit Stories: Sigi Hatzer and Großvenediger Mountain
9 min reading time
Left behind the snowcapped spire is our destination: The Summit of Großvenediger.
Updated on 27.06.2017 in People
New Blog Series: Mountain Guide Summit Stories
5 min reading time
Ort:
Updated on 20.03.2017 in Family
The ABC’s of Skiing With Kids
6 min reading time
Skigebiet Alpbach in Tirol
Updated on 20.02.2017 in Recommendations
A Day In The Snow: Skiing in Alpbach
10 min reading time
Biathlon Schnuppern 1
Updated on 19.01.2017 in Sports
Why Biathlon is Worth a Shot: Biathlon Clinics for Beginners
4 min reading time
Free Your Heel, Free Your Mind: Telemark Pro Marc Künkele in Hintertux. (Photo Credit: Martin Rainer)
Updated on 05.12.2016 in Sports
Tele-Ho: Learning To Free Your Heel
8 min reading time
DSC_0055
Updated on 01.06.2016 in Sports
What to Bring: The Ultimate Multi-Day Hiking Packing List
3 min reading time
Oscar kocht Innsbruck_Titelbild_1280px
Updated on 07.04.2016 in People
One out of 757 thousand: How Oscar came to Tirol from Mexico
7 min reading time
Beckna Harakiri schmal
Updated on 21.03.2016 in Recommendations
A Day In The Snow: Snowboarding in Mayrhofen
8 min reading time
Figl
Updated on 17.02.2016 in Sports
Figl – That’s the Answer
4 min reading time
2013-2014 saw the severest winter of the century so far: Obertilliach, East Tirol.
Updated on 21.12.2015 in Nature
Where is Tirol’s Snowiest Place of the Past 30 Years?
3 min reading time
1_Skifahren in Ischgl_Pardatschgrat
Updated on 02.12.2015 in Recommendations
A Day In The Snow: Skiing Ischgl
5 min reading time
All articles from Michael
No comments available
Write comment

Keep reading

Go up
Is your inbox in need of a holiday?

Then subscribe to our weekly newsletter full of exclusive holiday tips from Tirol!