Hooray for Switzerland for making hiking so easy. The trails are well-marked and well-maintained. Cable cars swoop you to the top, where you get maximum views for the least effort.
Mountains huts provide hearty meals, so you can pack lighter. Picnic areas are equipped with grills, wood and often fire tools. Family-friendly trails often provide groomed paths suitable for strollers and intermittent play areas as motivation for little walkers.

Even with all these conveniences, hiking with kids can be tricky. Here are a few tips to help smooth the way.

First, start early, start small, but go often. Hiking is a habit you are building. Provide incentives and bring surprise treats as rewards for good hiking. Lollipops are effective but reading aloud from a favorite book after every 10 minutes was also a surprise hit. Involve your kids in the planning, selecting your destination, consulting the trail maps, planning lunch. Go with friends – my slow walkers suddenly become trail runners when a friend is around. Lastly, always bring extra clothes. Someone from our crew is always toppling into a stream or mud bog.

Now for some inspiration. Here are a few of our favorite hikes, ones that we’ve done multiples times and where we take visitors.

If you only do one hike, this is the one. The area is immensely popular. But once you get on the trail, you’ll escape the crowds but still enjoy amazing views of the Matterhorn, as well as the nearby glaciers and the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s mostly downhill, which makes it much easier for kids.

This short barefoot path around a little pond in the alps, surrounded by towering mountains peaks, is a perennial favorite of ours. To get there, you can hike the Globi Treasure Trail, searching for 11 hidden treasure chests with clues and a prize at the end if you solve the puzzle. There are many other attractions, including an alpine slide, large playground, and water play feature.

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