Recently, we attended a Trail Day Celebration at a local trailhead. They had food, live music, and events for everyone. There was a bike ride, a walk/hike to a dam, a dog walk, and a Hike and Read for kids and parents.
Attendees had the option to participate in any events they chose. The dog walk sounded fun, but our puppy isn’t ready for a group appearance. We are still working on his leash manners. But we loved the Hike and Read.
Our trail’s events director led the little group of kids, parents, and grandparents on a short, scenic hike. We stopped where the kids could all side on a boulder for the story. The book she chose was perfect: Sheep Take a Hike by Nancy E. Shaw.
We were already familiar with Shaw’s other work, Sheep in a Jeep. These are delightful stories with hilarious illustrations. You will enjoy them as much as your children. I highly recommend you check them out.
What Makes a Good Trail Event?
I understand that this is subjective, but I’d like to say why I think this Trail Day Celebration went well.
Something for Everyone
A key challenge that any event director faces is getting people to actually attend the activities they pour so much work into organizing. I’m not saying that they should never have occasions for specific interest groups. They have adults-only hikes and bike rides and should continue. A big event like Trail Day Celebration should include a spate of activities across age and interest groups. They accomplished this goal nicely.
Our hiking guide Cindy is highly skilled at interacting with the kids and sharing her excitement for time on the trail. She let the kids take turns reading the story, pointed out different types of moss and fungi while we walked, and led the group through three rounds of Happy Birthday and one round of Happy Half Birthday to make sure we recognized each child in the group.
As parents, we can sometimes be discouraged because it feels like pulling teeth to get children away from a screen and involved in activities. However, children are easier to please than we give them credit for. They want to be acknowledged, and they want some freedom to explore and ask questions. Cindy gave them those things, so they all had a blast.
This one is self-explanatory in my opinion! Who doesn’t like to have food? My kids shared an enormous brownie after the Hike and Read. The food doesn’t need to be free. At this event, a local restaurant set up a table and sold food and drinks to people at the event.
How Do I Find Trail Events Near Me?
You have several options for finding trail events. You can search online for rail-trail events, local parks and recreation, state parks, and national parks. Depending on where you live, one or more may be available to you.
You can sign up for newsletters from the park services, but sometimes those get lost in your inbox. I’ve found Facebook to be an excellent resource for finding events. Once you follow pages that post what you want to see, you’ll have information come right to you without glutting your email.
Getting our whole family out to an event can be a challenge. I’m beginning to form the habit of keeping in tune with the events near us. I’ve also found that I must put these activities on my calendar, or we forget about them. Making time to find and attend trail events helps get us out more. I hope this quick little guide about where and what to look for is helpful for you too.