Caption: Yuma, Arizona near Colorado River – Photo by June Zwan
Choose the Best Times to Hike
Most families love to head out to Arizona’s trails during the summer months, although this can take some extra preparation according to Zwan. “If you plan on taking a hike during the season and at peak hours, you may be hiking with other people and need to find parking,” she says. It can be better to plan a trip during the offseason. Not only will practical things like parking be much easier, but it will also be a lot cooler which is ideal if you plan on spending a full day exerting yourself.
Also, be aware that certain trails (especially near the Highlands) can change depending on the time of year that you visit.
Pack the Essentials
Before you head out on your hike, you’ll want to ensure you have everything you need for the duration of the trip. Water is essential, but you’ll also want to pack things like protein bars, nuts, and nutritious snacks that will give you enough energy for the hike. Ensure that every member of the family is wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, too. And, don’t leave the car without a map and a compass unless you have a guide.
Consider Your Dog
If you plan to bring your dog hiking with you, it’s important to consider their needs as well. They will need food and water in the same way that humans do, and not all trails will have these kinds of amenities available on the route. “Also check whether pets are allowed to hike with you,” advises Zwan. “Not all hikes are pet-friendly, and you probably won’t want to leave your dog alone in the car all day by himself.”
Bring a Camera
Lastly, Zwan advises bringing a camera along for the trip. If your children are old enough to handle one themselves, this can be a fun way for them to take memories of the trip and all of you as a family having fun. “While I do love taking a camera along to capture memories of my trip, I sometimes also leave it in the car,” says Zwan. “Sometimes, all you want to do is be alone with nature. That said, it can be a great way to get the kids more excited and involved, so do weigh up your options before heading out.”
June Zwan loves getting out into the outdoors and advises parents to get their kids excited in nature whenever they can. It’s something she loved as a child and she’s now dedicated to encouraging others to do the same.