Family Hikes of Montana

2014 Hiking season

Sam at Aster Park OverlookAfter a really rough winter, the goal is to be on the trail as much as possible this season. We’re planning on exploring the hikes closer to Great Falls, as well as a number of them in Glacier National Park. I’m thankful to my group of friends with and without children who are willing to join me on these adventures since it’s a good test on the level of the hike. What might be great for one child, might turn into the Bataan Death March for another. It’s no fun to have a child who’s worn out and simply “done” with the hike. Having a group of various ages is a good barometer, which will hopefully give people a good idea on what hikes to choose from our experiences.

One thing I want to talk about when taking children, or truly in regards to anyone on the trail, is the assumption of risk. You never know what might happen. I’m not saying this to scare potential hikers, and definitely not to discourage anyone from enjoying our beautiful state, but you need to be aware that there are real dangers. Montana is stunningly beautiful country, but it’s not a city park. And even if you are visiting one of our National Parks, please understand that gravity works in these areas, too. These are not tame places.IMG_1143

For example, for our first hike of the season to Sulfur Springs, a very popular local destination, we had a ratttlesnake on the trail. I’m eternally grateful the young men in the front of the line saw it before it was a problem, but there it was coiled and angry. Thankfully we managed to skirt around it without incident, but it just proves that you always must remain vigilant. This season I plan to discuss some of these situations, and what you need to do to prepare. From ticks to cow moose, there are plenty of things to know before you hit the trail.

With that said, there’s nothing more satisfying than returning from a spectacular hike in some of the most impressive country in the world. Whether it’s a relaxing stroll through the forest, or a heart pumping ascent to an overlook just to catch a better view of the already awe-inspiring mountains, spending time on the trail in Montana builds memories that will never fade. IMG_1787

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