Successful Family Hiking

Hiking Marin’s beautiful trails is one of my family’s favorite things to do together. When we first moved to Mill Valley from New York City ten years ago, I was eager to explore our new surroundings and I wanted our four-year-old girls to experience everything that Marin offered, especially its open spaces. What I quickly realized was how unprepared I was for our family hikes. We had many failed hikes because the girls became tired, bored and hungry. We learned that a bit of preparation goes a long way when taking a hike with our kids.  Bringing things for them to do along the trail was helpful for keeping them engaged, noticing their surroundings, and forgetting about the distance they were walking!

At the library we’ve created an Experience Backpack for Kids that will help you with the preparation and keep your young hikers busy throughout their hike.  So not only can you get out to the trail sooner, but your time spent hiking will be more fun!

Each Experience Backpack for Kids includes:

  • Exploring Marin Trails: Includes a map for each trail and easy to follow directions for the trail with level of difficulty for each hike.
  • Family Hikes in Marin County brochure (yours to keep): tips and tricks for hiking with kids, a trail mix recipe, kid-friendly hikes taken from Exploring Marin Trails, and suggested reading from books in the Children’s Collection
  • A pocket naturalist guide: Nature of San Francisco and the Bay Area with  pictures to help identify trees and shrubs, wildflowers, marine life, reptiles and amphibians, birds, mammals, and butterflies
  • A journal and colored pencils to write or draw something you experienced during your hike to share with families who will be using the backpack in the future
  • One pair of  waterproof binoculars
  • One handheld magnifying glass
  • A pocket compass
  • A Nature Scavenger Hunt and a dry erase pen to mark what you find
  • A first aid Kit

Two Experience Backpacks for Kids are available for check out.  Backpacks can be checked out for seven days on a first-come, first-served basis. Rules for checking out and returning Experience Backpacks and their contents will be explained when the backpack is picked up at the Circulation Desk. Also available are two Experience Backpack kits for adults: Wildflower Guide and Bird Guide.

We hope that this Experience Backpack for Kids will help instill a love of the outdoors and ensure many family hikes in the future!

Funding for the new Experience Backpacks for Kids was made possible by a grant from the Walker Rezaian Memorial Fund.

-Jessica Ryan
Senior Children’s Librarian