Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip

Posted by: Jannette

Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/01/02 02:30 AM

My husband wants to take our 8 year old daughter on her first overnight backpacking trip. Does anyone have any recommendation for hikes within 2 hours of New York City and meet the following criteria?:
- approximately 5-6 miles a day
- one overnight stay - preferably with a lean-to available or decent place to pitch a tent with water sources available.
- not overpopulated (i.e., not Harriman State Park)
- challenging enough to be interesting, but not too strenuous to discourage a kid (views, ridges, some scrambling would be cool, but very long and steep approaches or boring flat carriage-road type trail is not). Note: she loved scrambling over the Labyrinth trail near the Mohonk Mountain House and completed it without assistance.
- potential bail-out points so I can rescue them if she can't complete it (no whining!!!).


Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/01/02 10:58 AM


We did my 6 yr. old sons first overnight this Spring at Round Valley Reservoir in NJ. Looked perfect on paper. Nice lake, surrounded by small mountains. Campsites 3-6 mi. with no vehicle access.

Overall not recommended because it is to boring. There are other reasons too though. Find something nicer. I'm posting this because it's in all the hiking books.

I look forward to reading about others experiences.

Mark Heyman
Posted by: Chooch

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/02/02 05:23 PM

Though my kids are too young still (2 and on the way) I have taken my nephews.
We go to camp grounds in state parks down here in PA. The no-walk-in is nice for the young legs. We then hike the many surrounding trails unencumbered by packs all day. Well, I have the pack with my two yearold in it and water and lunch. After 5 miles the kids are dragging. I wouldnt want to have to deal with the complaining on a real backpack trip. We then retire to the already ready campsite for smores and I wow them with backpacking gear. Lanterns, headlamps, stove, tiny tents, crazycreek chair. When it rains, we bail.
Some day soon they will be ready for the real thing but Im not pushing it hard. Better to have fun.
BTW they are 7, 9, and 12. The 12 year old is the biggest wimp.
Posted by: strat

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/03/02 01:02 PM

How about Giant Ledge in the Catskills.
It might be a little bit more than 2 hours from the city. But the trail is short (sorry I don't have the guide in my hands but round trip is less than 6 miles I think). It climbs steeply for a while then is flat for a while then climbs steeply again. It has a 'scrambling' feel to it at times.

You can camp on Giant Ledge Mountain which offers some nice views from a couple of look out points.

I don't remember if there is reliable water, but the walk is so short, you could easily carry the water you needed for the overnight with you.

Porcupines abound in this area (as you know about the Catskills already).

Another option, with a lean-to, is Wyndham High Peak. This is a little bit more work and, I think less rewarding, because the view that you get from the densely tree covered summit is not as good as Giant Ledge.
Posted by: MurphysLaw

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/03/02 02:06 PM

I can second the vote for Giant Ledge - we did it as a winter snowshoeing/camping overnighter, and it was fun.
The views are awesome , and it is not too far away from the safety of your car, should you need to 'punt' for any reason.

I think it's Panther Mtn that is adjacent to it, you can climb to the top of that as a mini side trip from your 'base camp' on Giant Ledge. I think it may be possible to do it all as a loop, but we did it as a simple out and back.
Posted by: strat

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/03/02 02:39 PM

It is Panther next to it, but I thought Panther Mountain was rather dull. You could bring a rope and some TR set up and explore the cliff of 'Giant Ledge' too, although, it's prolly the typical Catskill choss.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/03/02 08:47 PM

Hey strat, funny you should mention Giant Ledge, I was just looking at it in my hiking books last night. I remember it to be an enjoyable hike with great views. I couldn't remember if there were any good spots to camp though. I think I've hiked it to Panther Mountain and turned around and went back (no loop).

My husband is currently considering Ashokan High Point, which has great views and I recall some flat places to camp and follows a stream so there is water. Much of the trail in the beginning is not that exciting - rolling wide path, but the last mile is straight uphill with some scrambling. However, I haven't hiked this in many many years and can't remember for sure. Anyone do this recently and can comment on kid-backpacking appropriateness?

p.s. while I'm on the subject, anyone know of any outdoor gear stores which sell kid-sized backpacks? Any manufacturers? Having trouble finding something to fit her skinny 8 year old torso that would be big enough to get her sleeping bag in.

Posted by: strat

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/03/02 09:11 PM

There are alot of places to pitch tents on Giant Ledge and I *think* but can't remember for sure, that there is a spring near by.

I don't know about the Catskills, but the Adirondacks are dry dry dry, where you think there are reliable streams, there are now puddles of water that are connected by trickles...

Kids backpacks-um, sorry, no.

Posted by: quanto_the_mad

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/08/02 03:16 AM

Hey Jannette.

I looked around last year for a decent kids pack, not many choices out there. Ended up buying my 5yo a Kelty Coyote Jr., at 5lbs heavy for a kid; so all he carries is the pack and hydration bladder. Heh heh, last time he got stung behind the knee and couldn't walk, so I hiked out with my 40lb pack, with a 40lb kid sitting on top of that pack!

I see now there are a few more options. Deuter has the Fox 30 (which may be a bit big), Vaude has the Rock Monster and Mighty Mate. The Rock Monster looks nice, I'd consider it if I didn't already have half a dozen different backpacks in my collection.

I bought the Coyote Jr. at Campmor in Ramsey, the only store I found anywhere that even carried anything kid sized. I've seen Deuter packs there but only adult packs. Vaude I saw at Paragon Sports in Manhattan, but again only adult packs.

Good luck!
Posted by: Jannette

Re: Need recommendation for child's backpacking trip - 09/10/02 04:26 AM

Thanks for the tips folks. Here's the trip report.
My husband decided to stick with hiking up to Ashokan High Point. Being her first backpacking trip, there were a couple of glitches. The pack didn't fit her well, and she was uncomfortable and whining. They stopped a lot and one by one, items from her pack ended up in my husband's pack (her sleeping bag and clothes). Eventually she was only carrying her water. They found a nice campsite, but the next morning she decided she'd be too tired to hike to the summit and back to the car (very steep for .9 miles to summit then 3.5 miles back to the car), so they never made it to the summit. Anyway, they still had a good time except for one short crying spell when she discovered she missed her blankie. Can't do much about that. Perhaps we'll try Giant's Ledge as a dayhike someday, but I don't think she's ready to carry much weight, especially without a good fitting pack. She's still pretty skinny and petite, so it may be hard to find a good pack until she's a little bigger.