Jack Palance who played the old cowboy from City Slickers said that one thing is the secret to life. What is that one thing? That's up to Billy Crystal to figure out. In The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy the answer to "the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything" is 42. What is the ultimate question? That's a conversation for another day.
Because today the number is three. While staring at a pile of maps, following the squiggly trail lines through the even squigglier grades, there are just three elements to remember when picking out the perfect hike for a family with young children.
1. Keep it short. A hike that is too short, but ends with your little hikers impressed by their own speed and endurance is far better than a too long, potentially discouraging journey.
2. Keep it flat. Kids don't equate that burning pain in their legs with strength and success like we do. Kids equate a burning pain in their legs with a burning pain in their legs. Kids are clever that way.
3. Gotta have a payoff. A view, a waterfall, guaranteed animal sightings, a lake, or a tracking adventure. It doesn't matter what it is, as long is there is an element to the hike that rewards them for all of their hard work.
Ultimately, the reason we hike with our children is to share our love of the outdoors and to hopefully instill that love in them. By picking routes with your children in mind, even the most reluctant little hiker will have a fun and memorable time.
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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' authors have or will receive a paid trip to Park City Mountain Resort or will receive other compensation for their participation as an author.