There’s only one way to ensure your kids inherit your love of fall hiking: get them out on the trail!
And there’s no better month for hiking in Ottawa than October, when the days are cool and crisp and the colourful autumn leaves are still adorning the trees.
The key is to make it fun. Encourage collections of acorns, pine cones and interesting rocks (bring sand buckets). Bring a picnic lunch or snacks (many snacks) to break up the walk. Set up a scavenger hunt—who can be the first to spot 10 birch trees, five chipmunks, six fallen red maple leaves, and a spider web? School-age kids will love clambering over roots, rocks and logs. Don’t forget your water bottles.
You don’t have to begin with Mount Marcy (the highest mountain in the nearby Adirondack Range), by any means. A hike with babies, toddlers or preschoolers can be as simple as a stroll around Pink Lake in Gatineau Park—a wooden boardwalk goes most of the way around, and elevation is minimal. Infants or very young toddlers are best taken in backpacks, but older toddlers and preschoolers can certainly make their way around this one on their own steam. There is parking right at the trailhead. Older kids and budding scientists will enjoy the explanations you read to them from the interpretation panels along the way.
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