Water? Check. Hiking Shoes? Check. Diapers? Check. Baby? Hmm…

This is just the beginning of the checklist that runs through my mind every time I leave the house for a hike with my 12-month-old son, Miles. We are lucky to live in a wonderful place with hiking trails outside our door and even luckier to have become involved with the group “Hike it Baby,” whose motto, “Raising a generation to love the outdoors” is near and dear to my heart.

What is “Hike it Baby?”—Hike it Baby is an international, volunteer-based organization dedicated to getting families outside with children from birth to school age. The outings range from urban strolls and toddler-led walks to hikes and summer camping trips. We welcome the newest baby to the eldest of the family, from parents to grandparents, nannies, cousins, and friends.

Hike it Baby began in Portland, Oregon in 2013 as a small group of parents. Interest quickly spread and in 2016 Hike it Baby filed for non-profit status. Today, it is operating in more than 300 cities around the world with one right here in the Rogue Valley!

Our Local Branch—Ashland resident Aiyana Green started our local Hike it Baby branch in 2015 in order to meet other outdoorsy parents and their kids. The group was a success and hosted over 100 local hikes in 2016! We currently have four Branch Ambassadors—Aiyana Green, Jessica Leonard, Olivia Taylor and myself—who scope out trails, lead hikes, encourage families to get involved, and manage our hike calendar.

2017 has been an active year for our local branch with more than 15 hikes per month in the Rogue Valley. We’ve explored the Table Rocks, Jacksonville Woodlands, Sterling Mine Ditch, Farmer’s Markets, Ashland trail systems, Cathedral Hills in Grants Pass and much more! A typical outing has a designated meeting spot where we make introductions and load the kids into their packs or strollers. Hiking with a group provides more hands to distribute crackers to the hungry or point out interesting rocks along the way. Our motto is “leave no hiker behind and all fitness levels are welcome.” And let’s not forget the joy of a coffee break following a hike along the Jacksonville Woodland Trails!

If you are looking for support or just need an incentive to get outside, join our Facebook group, Hike it Baby Rogue Valley, and start a 90-day free trial on Hikeitbaby.com. After that, an annual family membership is $10 with scholarships available.

See you on the trails!

Upcoming Hikes:

April 3rd – Ashland Bandersnatch Trail

April 4th – Jacksonville Woodland Trails

April 6th – Medford Grower’s Market Meetup

April 8th – Ashland Toddler-led Hike