Hiking author Stephen Hui highlights kid-friendly jaunts in upcoming book

Alouette Valley Trail offers a special feature: this beautiful waterfall. Photo by Stephen Hui

After spending countless hours on hiking trails across B.C., author Stephen Hui has learned to shorten his stride recently.

His young son has a different criteria for what makes a successful hike, he explains.

The sound of the creek, a suspension bridge, running on boardwalks, big trees, and close proximity to ice cream are all far more important than a beautiful vista, Hui has learned.

“The sweeping view is lost on a lot of young kids,” says Hui, who has written two hiking books.

His third, Best Hikes and Nature Walks With Kids, is due out next week. Unlike his other titles, the bestselling 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia and Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia, his new book is dedicated to hikes for kids. 

Having my own son and taking him out hiking and on nature walks made me see the hikes through different eyes,” he says, “so I started to like the idea of doing a book for kids.”

Hui discovered kids aren’t necessarily interested in the same things as adults on hikes.

“It’s got to have fun features like hollow trees, waterfalls, suspension bridges, stuff like that,” he says. Water features — icicles, big puddles, creeks — are a big hit. “Big trees too and different kinds of animals and birds and insects. It kind of depends on the kid, but having a whole bunch of attractions definitely helps.”

Unlike his other books, you won’t find any time estimates in Best Hikes and Nature Walks With Kids — they vary too greatly from kid to kid and some may not want to complete the entire suggested route. He also treated a few other elements differently. 

“They’re more kid-focused,” says Hui. “The fun factor and the difficulty ratings are for people with smaller legs.”

The book includes a mini field guide, which can help identify many of the critters you may encounter on the hikes. Image contributed

There’s a mini field guide to help with identifying critters and plants along your walks, as well as fun facts littered throughout the entire book.

The book focuses on hikes in southwestern B.C. and are different from those featured in his other titles. In Ridge Meadows, there are two hikes highlighted: the Alouette Valley Trail and Lower Falls Trail.

The 55 hikes featured in the book range in distance from about two to 10 kilometres. 

Best Hikes and Nature Walks With Kids is due out May 17.

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