Hiking With Littles 1.4 Good Trails in Anchorage

Now that we have all the basics covered and you’re ready to hike…but where?

I’m going to list a variety of hikes in the greater Anchorage proper and then do another post on hikes outside of Anchorage.

1.GLEN ALPS aka Powerline aka Flattop Parking Lot

There are soooo many options that are based out of the Glen-Alps Trailhead.

Powerline: Jogging stroller friendly, relatively flat, can’t get lost, beautiful views. Easy to find! If you make it to the bridge it’s roughly 2.5 miles from the parking lot.

Blueberry Hill: This has a bit of a climb (less than a 1/4 mile) as it is the start of the Flattop Mountain trail, but you can circle the hill with littles easily. Not stroller friendly, but if you hit it right–you can pick blueberries!

Middle-Fork Trail: This trail cuts off powerline to the left, and down the hill to the creek. If you follow this trail down valley you come across the cut-off to the Williwa lakes trail and then just a bit further there is a pretty creek crossing. If you make it to the second creek and back its about 6.5 miles. Lots of geocaches along this trail. Be warned there is a notoriously muddy section–but it’s not that long. You can also cut up towards the O’Malley Gulch–which is steep!shiking

2. Canyon Road

This trailhead has a couple of options as well. To get here, take DeArmoun all the way up and then take a right on Canyon Rd. The trailhead is at the very end of Canyon Rd.

Rabbit Lakes: This is one of my very favorite hikes. It is a steady small inclined hill until you reach the lake. It is 4 miles to the lake–so a long hike, but I’ve made it 2 miles in with the kiddos and then we turned around. Beautiful views and always lots of wildflowers. Bear spray and moose awareness is a must on the first 2 miles.

Backside of Flattop: This is the trail to take kids if they want to climb a mountain. Steady switch backs all the way to the saddle between Flattop and Peak 2. Once you reach the saddle you can decide which mountain to climb!saddle2

3. Prospect Heights

Great trailhead with very wide trails and good views of Denali on a clear day. Favorites of ours include going to the creek towards Wolverine bowl, checking out the canyon and the Rim Trail*.

*Rim Trail gets very overgrown towards the middle end of July. Its a better Spring hike!

4. Bicentennial

This is a large park in the middle of the city. It’s great for a short run or walk with the dog. Most trails are jogging stroller friendly. There are creeks to check out and lots of geo-caches. **AVOID Mellens Way and Rovers Run in the Summer–these trails go directly next to the creek and have HIGH bear activity. Someone gets hurt there every year.** The other trails I feel very comfortable bringing kiddos with.

5. Kincaid

Kincaid is the park down on the point of the peninsula that Anchorage sits on. There are paved trails (coastal trail) and nordic trails you can walk on in the summer. You even can get down to the beach. The Dunes are also located in Kincaid, but they are from the Jodphur Parking Lot. There are a lot of moose in Kincaid!

 

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Hiking with Littles 1.3 Safety

I’ve been out of school for about a month and in that month I’ve done a lot of hiking. Many people I know think I’m a bit crazy and many have also stated that they want to go hiking but are too afraid.  I want to post a series that includes tips and tricks about hiking with kiddos.

(Disclaimer) I’m no expert and you go out on hikes at your own risk. I take no responsibility for any crazy things that happen while out on the hikes.

You can’t do a hiking series and not talk about safety. I think safety is the main reason that people don’t go out. They are afraid of what is out there and the crazy stories they’ve heard in the media. I don’t discount the fact that going out into the backcountry in Alaska has its risks, but so does stepping foot outside your door. I’ve seen more bears and moose on the roads than I have in the backcountry.

Now I am not an expert but there are plenty of people who are. If you are uncomfortable about bears there are a lot bear safety classes you can attend. Also there is a lot of information out there about what to do if you encounter a bear. Please educate yourself.

We follow some basic safety tips when we are hiking:

1.Stay together as a group: The kids like to run up ahead, but they are not allowed to go very far. Be aware of corners and the brush–this is what determines how far they can go.

2. Make some noise: If you’re with kids, this really shouldn’t be a problem. But we make sure we are talking or singing songs to make sure that if there is any wild-life in the area, they know we’re coming!saddle

3. Bear Spray: I carry bear spray on all of our hikes. The kids know how to use it. They’ve been shown and they’ve repeated back to me what to do with it. Will they use it if they need to? I’m not sure, but they’ve been educated.

4. Educate the kids: Both my niece and nephew know what to do when they encounter a moose. Yes, even the four year old. We’ve talked about what to do with bears, and they have a healthy respect for them.ERnature

5. Go on fairly popular trails: I haven’t taken the kids on a trail that we will be the only people on. The more traveled the trails, the less likely you’ll run into any wildlife, and if you run into trouble there are people to help.

You got this. Get out and enjoy Alaska!

Up Next: Good Trails

Hiking with Littles 1.2 Gear (Summer Edition)

I’ve been out of school for about a month and in that month I’ve done a lot of hiking. Many people I know think I’m a bit crazy and many have also stated that they want to go hiking but are too afraid.  I want to post a series that includes tips and tricks about hiking with kiddos.

(Disclaimer) I’m no expert and you go out on hikes at your own risk. I take no responsibility for any crazy things that happen while out on the hikes.

So you want to start hiking–but the question is what do you wear? What do the kids wear? What do you take with you?

What I’ve found is that you don’t really need that much.

For Babies that are being carried:

A good carrier for Mama. Find one that is comfortable and that the baby is comfortable in. I’ve tried soft carriers and backpacks and I find I get too sweaty if she’s right on me. She does too. So we get to our stopping point and we’re both sweaty. Not fun. I got a backpack carrier and I much prefer that. Also, the soft carriers have no where to put water or diapers or anything.

junesleeping

Diapers, a change of clothes, an extra jacket–and a wet bag . If you carry the baby in a backpack be aware that they won’t be as warm as they are in a soft carrier. Layer appropriately. Yes…even in the summer, it’s Alaska of course.june backpack

For kiddos that are able to hike on their own (4 and up):

Their own backpacks. My sister found some crazy awesome backpacks that fit the kids water and snacks, and are just their size. Which means, one less thing for Mama (or Auntie, or Nanny or….)to carry.AShiking1

Good sturdy shoes that are okay getting muddy and wet.

A sweatshirt/jacket/raincoat.

For Mama or Daddy:

Layers–you’ll get hot carrying the baby and then cool off at the stopping/turn around point

Bear Spray: Enough said

Bug Spray or Sunscreen.

Trekking/Hiking Poles: I don’t have these yet but they have been recommended by a lot of people. Might be worth looking into it.

After reading this I’m guessing you can find the majority of this stuff in your house. So get out there and hike!

Up Next: Safety

Hiking With Littles 1.1 Motivation

I’ve been out of school for about a month and in that month I’ve done a lot of hiking. Many people I know think I’m a bit crazy and many have also stated that they want to go hiking but are too afraid.  I want to post a series that includes tips and tricks about hiking with kiddos.

(Disclaimer) I’m no expert and you go out on hikes at your own risk. I take no responsibility for any crazy things that happen while out on the hikes.

Let me tell you how often a four-year old has motivation to go out hiking. Staying at home and watching Dino Dana…maybe…but hiking, not so much. So to get those kiddos out I’ve discovered some tricks that really keep them moving.

1. SNACKS!!!

Food. Really who isn’t motivated by food. Well I know I am, and the kids I hike with are. Before we go out and hike we load up their backpacks(that they carry) with food and water. They have a set amount of snacks and they are able to eat them when they want, but they aren’t allowed to complain when they are gone. This has worked super well. What kind of snacks? Granola bars, apples, cheese sticks, really whatever you would put in their lunch. I don’t recommend things that squish…bananas aren’t your friend in an active four-year olds backpack.

2. Snack-Caches

This is the brilliant invention of my husbands, but he told my niece that their were snack caches out in the mountains and you just needed to know where to find them. In reality they were jolly-ranchers he had in his pocket that he would drop in an area from time to time and she had to find them. She thought that they were just sitting out in the mountains to be found. She hiked 4 miles that day.

3. Geo-Caching

Speaking of caches, there are soooooooo many geo-caches to be found. You just need your phone and an app. There are free versions and ones you pay a bit for, but they are so worth it. We call it hunting for treasure and they are willing to walk a ways for that. We have found some really cool ones–under magnets, in tiny canisters and in the trees!

 

geocahing
GeoCaching!

4. Consistency

This may seem weird, but my niece and nephew now expect to go out and hike when they come to my house. The more you go, the more they will enjoy their time out there.

5. Singing

We sing all the time on the trail. It keeps the baby occupied, the kids love it and we make ton of noise. By the time you get through “The Ants Go Marching” 1 time you’ll be surprise at how far you’ve gone!

6. Friends

When we go with people the kiddos are so much more willing to keep going. Maybe its the distraction of other people, or other people to talk to and play with, but our longest hikes are with other people. So grab some of your friends and hit the trails!

friends hiking
Friends came with on this hike and we made it 6.5 miles!

Next up: Gear

Hiking with Littles 1.0 Expectations

I’ve been out of school for about a month and in that month I’ve done a lot of hiking. Many people I know think I’m a bit crazy and many have also stated that they want to go hiking but are too afraid.  I want to post a series that includes tips and tricks about hiking with kiddos.

(Disclaimer) I’m no expert and you go out on hikes at your own risk. I take no responsibility for any crazy things that happen while out on the hikes.

So here we go:all hiking

I think the biggest thing about being afraid of hiking with littles or going out with others with kiddos is your expectations or what you think your friends expectations are. We see pictures of parents with smiling kids on social media and we think–I can’t ever do that or my kids will never behave that way.

Here is my best piece of advice when it come to expectations: Set the bar really low.

You may think I’m joking. But I’m not.

I go out with the attitude of we get where we get and when we need to turn around we do. The point is to get out. We have days where we hike an awesome 6.5 miles and others where it’s less than 1 because someone kicks their shoe in the river–TRUE STORY. And that is okay.

Also, if I ever go out with others with kids I always say I’m willing to turn around for whiny kids. No one wants to hike with whiners.

So get out there! Go for 20 minutes or 2 hours. Extend yourself some grace and be grateful for the time outdoors!

Up Next: Motivation