Planning adventure trips with kids

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of December 5-11, 1996
Holing up in the Georgia hills
Exploring Hot Springs National Park
Planning adventure trips with kids
Snorkeling the Nohoch cave system
Whitewater river-running in the East

Planning adventure trips with kids
Question: With three kids, ages 10-16, we're ready for an adventure trip. Most of the trips we look into seem to cater to families with younger kids or else not allow kids at all. We want to do something fairly rigorous (bike trip, canoe trip, or serious hiking/scrambling). Any ideas on where to turn?

Robin Raskin
New York, NY
[email protected]

Idaho's backcountry is an ideal spot
for a mountain biking trip with kids

Adventure Adviser: For a sure-fire solution to your adventure-seeking needs, I recommend considering a five-day family mountain biking trip through Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. Bay-area-based Backroads is one of the few bike-touring companies geared toward parents and their two-wheeling kids, which is why their fully supported, extremely flexible fat-tire trip is such a good bet.

The trip starts in Boulder View campground, near Ketchum, with daily mileages ranging from 8 to 50. Because you're able to choose from three pedaling options--low-, middle-, and high-mileage spins--those of you who are looking for huge uphills and long days can satisfy your aerobic urges, while those preferring an easier ride can always choose the short route. And van shuttles are always an option. A more likely scenario? You'll probably be too caught up in the scenery--high alpine evergreen forests and snow-covered mountains--and the easy-going fire roads to want to stop pedaling. The five-day camping trip runs in July and August and costs $750 per person, but Backroads proves their family-friendly approach by offering significant discounts (from 10 to 20 percent) for kids between 7 and 16. Call 800-462-2848 for departure dates and more details.

On a totally different note, I also suggest a six-day canoe trip in the Temagami region of northeastern Ontario, near the Quebec border. A real mishmash of lakes and rivers in the midst of deep boreal forest, the 2,000-square-mile Temagami wilderness has more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes, which means you could spend practically a decade paddling the area without retracing your route. While this relatively low-key six-day trip, then, is just scratching the surface, it's still a great way to enjoy a family wilderness experience without schlepping all your gear on your backs. The 48-mile in-and-out paddle starts and ends at Mowat Landing, off Highway 58, and takes you southwest to your first of two portages at Mattawapika Dam and then on to Lady Evelyn River and into Lady Evelyn Lake. From there, head through Obasiga Narrows, west into Sucker Gut Lake, and north to Hobart Lake, through Tupper Creek, and into Tucker Lake. For a side hike, try the three-mile trail from Tupper Lake to the top of Maple Mountain, about 1,000 feet above the lake; there are panoramic 25-mile views from the fire tower on the summit. As for camping, there are plenty of tent-friendly sites along the length of the route. Smoothwater Outfitters (705-569-3539) runs guided trips, or call the Ontario Recreational Canoeing Association at 416-426-7170 for a list of companies that rent boats in the area.

Finally, for a whole slew of other great family adventure ideas plus more details on these two trips, your bible should be Outside's Summer 1996 Family Vacation Guide.

Search the archives | Ask the Adventure Adviser

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web