The Portland area offers plenty of hiking opportunities for children, set amid the world’s most beautiful scenery (fact). Here are a couple of tips I’ve followed over the years to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for everyone… for more detailed accounts see here and here.
Take it easy. In my experience small children (ages 3-5) on trails average 1mph. Yes, I really did say 1mph. That includes time to rest, have a drink, look at something beautiful, ask questions etc. I also plan on not more than 1 mile total distance per year of age. Your mileage may vary.
You’ll need a backpack. I usually bring a few items along “just in case” – a small first aid kit, wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug repellent, anti-itch cream, a plastic trowel, change of clothes / layers; and, unless it’s the height of summer, an emergency rain poncho or anorak. And plenty of water. I also bring snacks for both nutritional and motivational value.
Choose your moment. If you enjoy hiking, as I do, then you’ll want to make sure your children do to, or else it’s not going to happen. Over the years I’ve decided not to hike unless the daily high is at least 50 degrees and I don’t set out if it’s raining or if anything more than a shower is predicted. A little drizzle and a lot of mud is just fine.