Summer is a great time to go for a hike. Any season is a great time for a hike! What is a hike? 

A hike is simply a walk with a purpose. What do you need to go on a hike? That depends on how far you will go and where you are going. You will need comfortable shoes or sneakers and the right clothes for the weather. You should also have something to drink and maybe even a snack if you will be gone long. Make sure you get permission to go and that someone knows where you are going, and when you will be back.

A Purpose

There are many reasons to go for hikes:

  • You can go for a set distance such as a one-mile or a 5-mile hike. (Start with short hikes and build up to longer ones.)
  • You can go to observe some kind of living things, for example to look at wildflowers, birds, or butterflies.
  • You can go on a geology hike to look for rocks or fossils, or to follow a stream.
  • You can go on a habitat hike to explore a forest, a field, a park, or a city.
  • You can go on a magnifier hike, on your knees right in your own backyard, to see what tiny things you can find with a magnifying glass.
  • You can go for a hike to practice using a map and compass.
Try keeping a list of interesting things you see. It will make you a better observer and help you share your adventures with others. So too will taking a camera and photographing what you see.

Clothes and Shoes 

Dress for the weather. If the weather is hot, your clothes should be light-colored and loose fitting. If the weather is chilly, wear several layers. When you are walking you will get warm. When you stop, you will cool off quickly. A hat is good for shading your head from the sun and sunscreen will help to prevent sunburn. Insect repellent will keep you from getting bug-bitten. An umbrella or raincoat can be an important thing to have if rain is in the forecast.

You don't have to go shopping if you already have comfortable shoes or sneakers that give your toes room to wiggle and give good support. If your hike will be in an area with lots of rocks, you might need thick soles to protect your feet from getting bruised. If you become a regular hiker, you may want to get hiking boots.

Food and Drink

There are many drink products advertised, but water is still about the best. Get a water bottle and use it. When the weather is hot, you can lose a lot of moisture in a hurry.

When you get tired, a snack can be a quick pick me up. A longer hike deserves a good, healthy lunch along the way.


You can hike with others. Youth organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and Nature Centersparks, and local hiking clubs all sponsor hikes. Check the newspaper to see if there are hikes scheduled near you. Or just go with family or friends. Teachers may want to look at the book Walk This Way!: Classroom Hikes to Learning by Rebecca Olien for ideas.

For further tips on getting ready for a hike, see Ten Essentials.

Whatever you do, keep your eyes and ears open, ask questions about what is around you, and have fun!
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