Hiking with Kids
in the Salzburger Saalachtal
“Hiking is fun … at least when I feel like it” – That’s how your kids see it and it is often quite challenging for you as parents. Many factors play a role in motivating children to go hiking and exercise in the fresh air. As well as this, children are as different as the trees along the way. One child might think something is fun, the other finds it boring. Some want to stop every 5 minutes and discover something, others prefer to start a race. For a successful hike you should therefore always keep this in mind, “We accompany our children on a hike and not the other way round.”
We have a few tips to take with you on your walk so that everyone in the family can enjoy a rewarding hiking trip.
Where to go…?
First of all, your hike begins in your living room or hotel room – with the choice of a suitable tour. You must decide whether your child should walk the entire route or whether you would prefer to take a buggy or a child carrier with you. This is of course crucial when it comes to how steep the path might be and the conditions underfoot. In our tour portal you will find relevant information about suitable routes.
You can also make certain tours easier for your kids by using local transport in the region. Many of these are free for you with the Salzburger Saalachtal card. You can use the Almbahn I and II, for example, to bring you up to the Almenwelt Lofer; the Almerlebnisbus brings you up to the Naturpark Weißbach and further on to the Nationalpark Berchtesgaden and the Postbus line 260 connects the individual villages in the Salzburger Saalachtal almost always once an hour. This means you can easily combine different starting and finishing points.
How high …?
It is not only the length in kilometres which is a deciding factor for the difficulty of the tour you have chosen. If you are out and about in the mountains, you should always take into account the number of metres of altitude which await on your planned hike. The speed at which you make progress with your children is also determined by the type of paths you are using. Are there wide forestry roads, narrow forest or meadow paths or even alpine ascents with stones and scree to overcome? You will find information on altitude and terrain in all of the tour descriptions on our website. If you do not have much experience you can also use the approximate walking times as a guide – but be aware that these are only estimates.
Can my child manage it…?
This question is difficult to answer as a general rule. Little Johanna was already climbing her first peaks at the age of 5 and is already quite sure-footed and enjoys the challenge. 7-year-old Jonas, on the other hand, has more fun on a short circular hike on a mountain pasture and needs a lot of breaks to discover the surroundings through play.
You are probably the best judge of your children. If you are not sure, choose an easier tour. There is nothing worse than overtaxing your children on their first hiking experiences – and spoiling their fun for a long time.
Safety first …
When it comes to safety in the mountains, this rule applies, ”Good preparation is everything.”– It is better to have one jacket too many with you than one too few and better to check the weather forecast three times than to be surprised. The weather can change unexpectedly quickly in the mountains. If a thunderstorm is forecast for the afternoon, it is better to get out of bed a bit earlier and start your tour early.
Good preparation also includes choosing the correct clothing. You will be suitably dressed for the mountains if you stick to the onion principle. Different layers on top of each other ensure that you are perfectly dressed whatever the weather and cannot be caught out by sudden weather changes.
Then you will be very thankful for the muesli bars and apple slices which you quickly packed beforehand. As well as this, regular snack breaks with healthy snacks, but also a small treat or two, increase the motivation and stamina of your children.
And where’s the fun …?
“The way is the goal”. It is sensible to divide the tour into short stages which can be broken up by highlights along the way. These could be playgrounds, the hiking golf stations in the Salzburger Saalachtal or installations along the adventure trails. But you can also take your children on a “playful hike” without any on-site activities…. building a leaf raft, playing forest boccia etc. are a few of the countless ideas for games in nature.
A rewarding destination also helps to speed up your children’s steps. Who wouldn’t be motivated to complete the trail by writing in the summit book, enjoy a delicious portion of Kaiserschmarrn or a huge scoop of ice-cream?
In addition, you can score points with the children by giving them independence. Their own rucksack makes them feel like a real “mountain climber” and they feel especially cool as a “mountain guide” if they are allowed to go ahead and discover the trail themselves. When, after completing a few tours, they proudly pin on the Salzburger Saalachtal hiking medal, you can be sure of one question, “Mum, Dad, when are going hiking in the mountains again?”