8 YO's first backpacking trip

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Been a while since Ive been on here. Was hoping I could get some guidance on a few trails i could take my son on his first backpacking trip. I have not had much luck with google. I wanted to find a trail that wasn't too strenuous for his first trip and no river crossing we are thinking about trying to go early spring when it still might be a little cold. Thanks again for any guidance.


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Plan a day trip or overnight campout at Desoto State Park in Alabama. Pick any one of the numerous trails to suit your trip length. Keep it light and fun for the first trip, lots of little creek crossings, and a variety of small waterfalls so you can get your water fix too.

If backpacking means overnight camp on the trail, then reserve one of the primitive tent sites, and have your trail trip end up there. Lost Falls/Laurel Falls trail loop is around 1.5-2 hours worth depending on your speed. Take a break, then add another trail section like CCC, etc.

They also just won best State Park in Alabama award.

A review in this thread
Desoto State Park

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There’s a great book called hiking trails of north Georgia. It’s by Tim Homan (I believe). It’s pretty cheap and literally has hundreds of trails with a wealth of information.
Kudos to you for getting your son out in the woods. If you are not looking to get "into the wild too much" a state park might be your ticket. You could rent a campsite and backpack the SP trails. Many SPs have backcountry campsites which allow you to get away from the RVers. Just a thought not knowing your or your son's skill and physical fitness levels. Xs 2 on the Hiking Trails of North Georgia book.

One thing I have learned from my 10+ years in Scouting is boys will want to bring anything and everything. At that age a big knife, a big hatchet, big canteen, etc. look cool (and are at that age) but not so much a mile or two into a hike. Especially since this is his first experience keep an eye on the weight of his pack. If you do not already have a pack for him and if you are close enough, consider renting one from REI. REI can suggest the size and fit it to your son in the store, making the hiking portion much more enjoyable than using an ill fitting pack.

Hope you two have a great time.