In the USA if you talk about going for a walk people will assume you are on the way to Starbucks to pick up a coffee. You don’t walk in the USA, you hike! When you realise just how vast and varied the terrain is for outdoor recreation you can understand why the word walk just doesn’t cut it. Mountains, deserts, coastal walking, glorious forests, famous cityscapes and incredible wildlife – the USA has something for everyone and every age.
Given how huge the hiking terrain is across the US, main trails are usually managed by state and regional/municipal parks with well-marked established hiking trails marked out and managed. It often costs a fee to get in or to park but for this you will have access to facilities such as information centres, toilets, water and you can get annual or multi-day passes in places to give you repeat access or a more cost-effective way of visiting multiple parks. Some parks also offer guided walks and family friendly ranger led activities so check out the local events list for a slightly different experience.
Whilst Baby Routes has so far only made it as far as California, that one state already provided way more family friendly hiking than we could possibly handle. I hope to add more routes in the future across the US.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for information on hiking in the USA then try the National Parks and the family section of the American Hiker Society website for some general information to get you started. Hike It Baby is another handy site if you fancy hiking with some other young families. For Baby Routes recommended walks in California and for links to other useful hiking websites based in California then click through to the California Walks & Hikes page below.