Shenandoah National Park Offering Hiking Program for Families with Children

Parents with kids and backpack.

The seminar will provide tips for hiking with kids of all ages. NPS photo.

Hiking with kids can be fun, sometimes challenging, and for many adults a bit intimidating. Shenandoah National Park is hosting two "Hiking with Children" seminars this summer to help take a lot of the worry out of spending time on the trail with youngsters.

The event will be held on two Saturdays: June 19 and July 17 from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The seminars are free, but reservations are requested, and can be made at this link on the park website. The seminar will be held from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Byrd Visitor Center (Milepost 51 on the Skyline Drive).

What will be covered? According to the park,

These programs are designed for parents that want to get outdoors to hike with their children and have a worry-free experience. Have you always wanted to hike with your family but were concerned about being safe? Do you wonder about keeping your little ones entertained and engaged? Are you making the right decisions about what to wear and what to take with you should unexpected situations arise?

Guest speaker and expert hiker Jeff Alt, author of the celebrated A Walk for Sunshine, will share his expertise with you and your family. You will learn firsthand how to share nature with children for a fun and safe outdoor adventure.

Jeff Alt has some excellent credentials for the sessions.

He's the father of two young children and regularly takes his family on overnight hiking trips. He has hiked the 2,160 mile length of the Appalachian Trail on his own. During the summer of 2007, with his wife and extended family, Jeff carried his 21-month-old daughter on a 50-mile hike across a swath of Ireland.

At the “Hiking with Children” seminars, Jeff will provide tips on how families with children can experience nature together on the trails in Shenandoah National Park. Both programs include a short hike with Jeff and park rangers on one of the park’s trails.

Although there's no charge for the seminar, there is a $15-per-car entrance fee to the park, which is good for seven days. Residents of areas near the park will even get a break on that fee on Saturday, June 19, which is "Shenandoah Neighbors’ Day." The park will waive entrance fees that day for residents living in counties adjoining the park including: Albemarle, Augusta, Greene, Madison, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, and Warren.

“Hiking with Children” is just one several upcoming Shenandoah National Park Resource Seminars. The seminars provide an opportunity to learn from scientists, researchers, educators, and other experts about resource issues and recreational opportunities in Shenandoah National Park.

Future seminars include The Basics of Family Camping, July 10 -11, and a science-based air quality seminar, What’s Up with the Air? on Saturday, August 14, 2010. You'll find a complete schedule for these events on the park website.

The Shenandoah National Park Resource Seminars are co-sponsored by the Shenandoah National Park Association, an non-profit park partner that supports the interpretive and educational activities at Shenandoah and ARAMARK, the park’s official concessioner.