Mountain Mama: When hiking with kids turns into a stroll

Hiking with kids is great, but very slow.

My kids don’t just follow the trail, they zig zag, checking out everything from rocks to slugs. We average about one kilometre an hour until someone has to pee. It’s less like hiking and more like strolling.

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Inevitably my four-year- old will stop in her tracks and utter a declaration. “I don’t want to walk any further!”

This is how I feel about nine aisles into grocery shopping, but this is very inconvenient on a hike. Pretty soon I am schlepping a preschooler in my arms while my two-year-old giggles in the carrier on my back. Crossfit has nothing on hiking with kids.

A good baby backpack will allow you to take the kids anywhere until they get too big to carry.

Now I’m dreaming up business plans involving the rental of preschoolers and toddlers for that ultimate hiking workout. Prepping for Everest? I have a 35-pounder and a 40-pounder available.

Hiking in the fall requires a bit more dedication than in the summer, but the window of time before the snow hits the valley is a great time to head out.

Dress in layers, bring snacks and unleash your babies on the trail.

While most of Whistler’s alpine hikes are blanketed with snow, the lower elevation trails are good to go. Lost Lake Park is one of the most accessible of all of Whistler’s hiking trails. The loop is a wide gravel path running from the entrance of the park all the way around Lost Lake, about a 5 km round trip from the Village.

The best part of this trail? You can leave the backpack at home because it’s stroller friendly. It’s a super chill trail that makes you feel like you’ve gotten a taste of Whistler’s amazing outdoors. Hiking doesn’t have to be epic to qualify as a good time.

Ancient Cedars trail is another gem for families. In the fall months, the trail comes alive with 900-plus year old trees flanking the route. This trip requires a bit more planning as it is located about 10 km north of Whistler. The trail itself is well marked and a great stop for a meandering journey.

One of my all-time favourite hiking spots with kids in the Sea to Sky corridor is located at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola. The 1.6-km Panorama Trail makes getting into the alpine with children a doable task.

Viewpoints with handcrafted cedar benches dot the trail and give breathtaking views of the Squamish Valley, Skypilot and Olesen Falls. The Panorama trail has an easy elevation grade of approximately 8-10 per cent allowing people of all ages and fitness levels to complete it in under an hour.

Just 45 minutes south of Whistler and open all year long, the Sea to Sky Gondola has put Squamish on the map. The gondola is a 10-minute ride from the base of Howe Sound to beautiful Coastal Mountain terrain, 885 metres above sea level.

While the eight passenger gondolas can accommodate strollers, again this is awesome.

Wherever you choose to go, hiking is a great activity with kids. It’s often just a stroll, but getting out into nature and enjoying the day and your kids is priceless.

Thank you to all the readers of Mountain Mama over the years. I am so thankful for all of you. This is my last Mountain Mama column as I look to new adventures and words to write with my kids in tow. Thank you to the staff at the Whistler Question for opportunity to write and thank you to Whistler for inspiring every word.

© Copyright Whistler Question

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