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Backpacking Locations for Kids

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  • Backpacking Locations for Kids

    (Cabin fever outburst sorry)
    I've been a long time ADK hiker/camper but I am starting a new adventure. My son is 4 now and it's time to start really getting out there with him. Last year he went camping and backpacking with me a couple of times and really enjoyed it and is looking forward to more of it this year.

    I thought I would start two threads about backpacking with kids. Specifically very little kids.

    First I would love some suggestions for Lean-tos that are a short distance from a trailhead. Ideally less than 3 miles and situated on a lake where swimming is good. (my second tread will be about activities to keep kids entertained, like swimming).

    Last year we hiked in to Rock pond in Pharaoh Lakes WA and stayed two nights at the lean to. That was perfect for him.

    Some others that jump to mind are Stephens and Cascade near Lake Durant.
    Or Tirrell pond also near Lake Durant.

    I know I could find a lot of spots on a map, but I would love to get real opinions and I know everyone loves a chance to discuss their favorite spots.
    Also, when you are going with a 4 year old, you better be sure of where you are going first. As a non-child-accompanying hiker one of my favorite things was not knowing what to expect at a destination.

    Thanks in advance for the input

  • #2
    Moss Lake might be a neat place. There is a short trail that rings the lake, with campsites along the way. Some are right on the water. There are no leantos, but if you brought a tent you could spend a weekend camping out, paddling swimming and fishing. There's also an Osprey nest on the island in the middle of the lake that is interesting to watch.

    Cascade lake is nearby, with another trail that rings the lake. Cascade Falls is on the far end. That whole loop is about 6 miles though and might be a too long for a 4 year old.

    You could check out one of the leantos in HaDeRonDah. I think you can find a sub 3 mile route to the leantos, and they both have pretty sweet spots on the lakes.


    • #3
      HaDeRonDah is a nice easy flat hike that leads to a lake. I am going to carry my soon to be 1 year old in a pack out there this summer.


      • #4
        When my kids were young, I didn't want the extra weight of tents and wanted to be certain of having an open lean-to as a destination. So we rented one of the lean-tos at JBL. It's a 4-5 mile easy hike, Johns Brook is right in front of the lean-to for swimming and fooling around in, easily obtained drinkable water nearby and plenty of options for hiking. I think you can also purchase food at JBL, but we never did that.

        We started doing that when my kids were 4 and 7 and continued that off and on for years. The first year we got a small pack for my daughter, stuffed it with cheerios and marshmallows -- it looked like the pack was bigger than her but it probably weighed 5 lbs or less.


        • #5
          These are some great ideas, thanks. Queer lake was on my list of curiosities from before kids and I think that is near Moss and Cascade as well.
          HaDeRonDah is an area I really knew nothing about. I am always amazed at no matter how well you think you know the area there are always little surprises.

          rdl, do you need to be an AMC member to rent the lean tos or cabins? I used to be a member, but I don't think I am anymore.


          • #6
            Queer lake is a realy nice place. The last mile or so of the trail has alot of hills so that section may be a little tough for a young kid but I would say its defenetly a possibility if your willing to take some extra time on the trail. I dont think you would be disappointed there.

            Cascade lake is a pretty flat trail for the most part, but might be a little to long. Again I think it would but worth the effort for you.

            The ha-de-ron-dah is also a nice area with two nicely located lean-tos. The first few hundred yards of the trail off of rt.28 is steep but after that mostly fairly easy rolling terrain.

            Another nice place is pine lake located in the independence river wild forest just on the edge of the ha-de-ron-dah. I beleive this is a 3.5 mile hike on the snowsled trail with pretty easy terrain. Has a nice lean-to there and the pond is realy shallow so swimming should be good and pretty safe for a younger kid. The downside of this is the edges get weedy throughout the summer. Theirs also another pond just over the hill for exploring. Also a good place to see wildlife. We camped here last summer and seen a coyote, four deer and a mother and cub bear on the far side of the lake tthroughout the weekend.

            All of these places are popular so the lean-tos wouldnt be guarnteed anywhere just as a warning you might want to have a backup plan in case they are full. Although them being full is unlikey. Anywhere you choose will be fun.


            • #7
              do you need to be an AMC member to rent the lean tos or cabins?
              You do not need to be an ADK member to rent the lean-tos or cabins. You get a little price break if you're a member.