Northwest publishers take aim at families with hiking guides tailored to young feet and minds.

Share story

If you’re a parent aiming to recruit your child to the hiking life, two worthwhile guidebooks are new this month. You might just need them both.

• Of most use to Puget Sounders is Mountaineers Books’ new incarnation of one of its old favorites (circa 1988), Best Hikes with Kids: Western Washington”(382 pages, $21.95). Former Washington Trails Association communications director Susan Elderkin penned this guide, as the torch is passed from the original author, renowned family-hiking advocate Joan Burton (who accompanied Elderkin on two of her research hikes).

It’s a colorful compendium of 125 hikes suitable for kids of various ages, with suggested turnaround points, notes on bathroom availability and stroller accessibility, and 13 fun lists of “best hikes” for big trees, little legs, waterfalls, weird places (St. Helens Ape Cave, anyone?), and so on.

• From Portland’s Timber Press comes Oregon educator Wendy Gorton’s “Oregon & Washington: 50 Hikes with Kids”(279 pages, $19.95). While weighted toward Oregon, it has 18 Washington hikes. Kids and parents will both love the suggested scavenger hunts along each trail (find huckleberries at Naches Peak, sea lettuce at Ebey’s Landing, etc.) and each hike’s “Treat Yourself” tip for the ride home (a Zeke’s Drive-In milkshake after a Heybrook Lookout trek, e.g.).

— Brian J. Cantwell